HK aim to put record straight at Borneo 7s
The Hong Kong team arrived in Kota Kinabalu yesterday hoping to put the record straight at this weekend's Borneo Sevens, the second ranking event in the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, and returning home with the silverware.
The disappointment of losing in sudden death to South Korea in the final of the Shanghai Sevens still sits heavily with the team and according to captain Rowan Varty it is something they plan to put right by the end of the 12-team tournament.
'Shanghai was disappointing as we didn't finish Korea off,' Varty said. 'We are now not just happy with settling for beating Japan. We want to win tournaments, too, as we feel on our day we are the best team in Asia. But when the results don't back that up, obviously we are disappointed.'
South Korea came back from a 17-5 deficit and, with three minutes to go, tied the score before clinching the final in extra time.
This continues a disturbing trend for Hong Kong, who have now lost a number of finals in the dying seconds, including last year's Asian Games gold medal as well as the 2009 East Asian Games final, on both occasions to Japan.
A young Japanese outfit, missing most of their stars on World Cup duty in New Zealand, were easily disposed of in Shanghai last month, 26-0. But then came the Korean disappointment.
Varty, 24, now hopes his second outing as skipper will have a happier ending.
'Captaincy is a great honour and special as I have been involved for a long time,' Varty said. 'But nothing has really changed because guys like Keith [Robertson], Ant [Haynes] and I have been trying to lead the team for a while.'
Hong Kong have made two changes to the squad which played in Shanghai last month with forward Nick Hewson set to make his sevens debut, while scrumhalf Tim Alexander returns to the side. Hewson will replace the injured Pale Tauti, while Alexander comes in for Peter McKee.
'This is one of the strongest line-ups we have ever had, so we expect results,' added Varty.
If Hong Kong emerge with the Cup title in Borneo, they will finish as the top-ranked Asian side, boosting their chances of playing in more than one event in the HSBC World Sevens Series next season.