Hong Kong dazzle under scrutiny of player-cam
Big Brother's beady eye had a dramatic, positive effect on the Hong Kong team at the Bangkok Sevens yesterday.
For the first time, the coaching panel took video recordings of three individual players throughout the match to analyse their performance. The players, however, were not informed who among them had been singled out for scrutiny.
As a result, said head coach Dai Rees, they all played out of their skins and stormed into the Cup competition.
Hong Kong defeated Pakistan 45-0, Thailand 42-7 and Malaysia 57-0 on the opening day of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series tournament.
'I think our performance rose 20 per cent due to the player-cam,' said Rees with a smile.
With an eye on the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens next month, Rees and his coaching team have introduced the player-cam as well as a GPS tracking system, both of which can help gauge the performance levels of the players. 'We have been using GPS for some time but the player-cam is being used for the first time. The GPS helps us measure the work-rate of the players, how much distance they cover, at what speed and what intensity.
'The player-cam, which today tracked three different players, allows us to see what the individual does off the ball, how much time he spends on the floor and so on,' Rees said.
For top IRB core teams, like New Zealand and England, this is part and parcel of the game.
But for Hong Kong the technology is still novel and is now available thanks to additional funding from the Hong Kong Sports Institute - a reward for winning a silver medal at the last Asian Games in Guangzhou.
'The scoreline didn't matter at all today. All the emphasis was on performance indicators. Ignoring the results totally, I'm satisfied with our performance,' Rees said.
Hong Kong are on course to meet Japan in the Cup final. They will meet Laos first up in the quarter-finals today.