Big chance to play in front of the fans
Royce Chan Leong-sze has been a faithful servant of Hong Kong women's rugby for many years. But unlike her male counterparts, she has never had the opportunity to play in front of the So Kon Po masses. She hopes all that will change next weekend.
'We want to get to the Hong Kong Stadium and I think our best opportunity will be by getting into the Plate final,' said Chan, who along with Christine Gordon was named co-captain of the 12-strong women's squad announced yesterday.
The chance to play for the first time in front of friends and family at the stadium will spur Chan and her teammates at the 12-team IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Hong Kong, the second of three tournaments organised by the world governing body to give the women's game much-needed regular competition and a boost.
'We are grouped with Australia, who are the reigning World Cup Sevens champions and the Netherlands. We will be targeting the Dutch girls as a must-win game. We beat them last year and we are confident we can repeat it,' said Chan.
In tournament of the past, organisers have only played the Cup final of the women's competition at the stadium, during a break in the men's event.
But with more emphasis being placed on the women's game by the IRB in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics, four matches from the women's event will be played at the stadium - the Cup semi-finals and final (on Saturday) and the Plate final on Friday. The preliminaries of the tournament will be played at the Hong Kong Football Club.
The team includes a number of regulars, including Gordon, Amelie Seure, Chan Ho-ting, Samantha Scott and Lindsay Varty (whose brother Rowan will be leading the men's team).
Three players will be making their debuts - Rose Fong, Colleen Tjosveld and Tanya Young.
'We have a strong and settled team and I hope we can win one pool game so we stand a chance of reaching the Plate final. It would be nice to be able to run out on the Friday in front of our own fans at the stadium. This is my fifth year playing for the team (third as captain) and I hope we will be in contention for the Plate,' Chan said.
Canada, Australia, England - the reigning European women's sevens champions - and the United States are the top four seeded teams in the competition.
Royce Chan Leong-sze (co-captain), Christine Gordon (co-captain), Amelie Seure, Chan Ho-ting, Christy Cheng Ka-chi, Cheng Tsz-ting, Colleen Tjosveld, Rose Fong, Tanya Young, Natasha Olson-Thorne, Samantha Scott, Lindsay Varty.