Consistency is key for women to make it to the big stage at Hong Kong Sevens
New captain Natasha Olson-Thorne determined to lead side through the preliminary rounds to reach final at Hong Kong Stadium
Hong Kong tasted the entrée, now the main course beckons as new captain Natasha Olson-Thorne sets her sights on leading the locals out to play this coming Friday night in front of a packed Hong Kong Stadium.
And the 23-year-old winger knows exactly how her side has to approach the HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens if they are to win their way through to the final of the tournament.
“It’s all about consistency,” said Olson-Thorne. “We’ve been working on that, and on making sure we go into each game at 100 per cent. The girls are really psyched and getting back out to the stadium is our goal. It’s about being calm and consistent.”
The majority of the 12-woman squad, named on Friday, had their first taste of playing at the Hong Kong Stadium during last November’s Asia Rugby Olympic Sevens qualifier, which ended with the host nation finishing third behind Japan and Kazakhstan.
Last year they came agonisingly close to the final, losing 10-5 to eventual winners Japan in the semis.
They must now negotiate their way through the preliminary rounds staged on Thursday and Friday at King’s Park and Hong Kong Football Club respectively if they are to see their dreams of returning to the big stage realised.
WATCH: Hong Kong’s Sevens squads announced
Hong Kong have been drawn in pool B with Asian champions Japan, Argentina, Thailand and Sri Lanka, while pool A comprises France, South Africa, Kazakhstan, China and Kenya.
“Natasha is a quality player,” the New Zealander said. “It’s a natural thing for her to step up and lead the group and I think she’ll be very able at it.”
Richards is aware of the task ahead with both France and Japan plying their trade on this season’s HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.
“The girls have been training very hard for the past three months with a big emphasis on fitness and defensive work,” said the coach.
“It was a hard squad to pick but we think we’ve got the right balance of youth and experience.”
Hong Kong women’s sevens squad: Natasha Olson-Thorne (c), Candy Cheng Tsz-ting (vc), Chong Ka-yan, Adrienne Garvey, Christine Gordon, Colleen Tjosvold, Ivy Kwong Sau-yan, Melody Li Nim-yan, Lee Tsz-ting, Nam Ka-man, Aggie Poon Pak-yan, Lindsay Varty