PE teacher Lola has come a long way since her first trip to Hong Kong
Vivacious Lola Williams is a regular fixture in women's rugby in Hong Kong, but it wasn't always so.
Laughing at her naivety when she first came to the city, she says: 'I heard one of the senior HKRFU members was talking about the Sevens boxes. I thought they were collection boxes for fund-raising.'
In 1997, Williams came to Hong Kong to play in the first international women's sevens. 'I was teaching in the Arabian Gulf and this tournament tied in with the Rugby World Cup Sevens that year.'
Once the games were over, she needed to go back to her PE teaching post before the main event kicked off. 'I'd heard so much about the Sevens, and I wanted to stay to see it, if not play in it!'
The next year it was a wish fulfilled as Williams was back playing on the green grass of So Kon Po. 'The only problem was that our game was on at silly-o-clock,' she recalled this weekend. 'I think there were six people in the South Stand when I scored the winning try.'
That sealed the deal for her to move to Hong Kong and a beautiful rugby romance was born. Highlights included being the first-ever Hong Kong women's rugby coach and turning the tables on the Japan women's team in the plate final of the 2001 Sevens.
These days, the PE teacher from King George V School is coaching the under-16 Peninsula side. 'The New Zealand Legends came to our school for a coaching session and they were blown away by the girls' skills. The majority of this team are Hong Kong born and bred. That's important for us to compete on a world stage, and at the Olympics.'