Class act: Hong Kong boys win second successive Asian school sevens title
Paul Altier and Ryan Walker score in the final to secure a 14-7 win over Thailand
Captain Mark Coebergh starred as Hong Kong won the second Asian Schools Rugby Sevens Championship at King’s Park on Sunday.
Coebergh was involved in everything from scrum-half as the home side defeated Thailand 14-7 in the final to win the tournament for the second consecutive time.
The 18-year-old’s impressive performance was another step towards his dream of representing Hong Kong at senior level.
But rather than get carried away, Coebergh was realistic about his position and is eager to get back to work in training in a bid to continue his development.
“To be completely honest, against Singapore [in the final pool match] I sort of lost my cool but I just had to learn from that, let it go and move on,” he said.
“I’m happy with my performance. One of my long-term goals is to play for mens sevens or 15s. It’s hard work and I’m willing to put that in. I’ll just keep working on the little things to get up there.”
Coebergh, who represented Hong Kong in the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Zimbabwe in April, recently graduated from YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College in Tung Chung.
His under-20s experience and the exposure he has gained playing first grade for Hong Kong Scottish shone through on a testing day for Hong Kong.
“We lost to Singapore earlier today and our team was heads down, but as a team we drove back up and obviously it paid off,” Coebergh said.
“I’m so excited, so happy for the team.”
Hong Kong entered the tournament under a weight of expectation and coach Fan Shun-kei was pleased his highly-regarded side were able to deliver.
“To win was our goal for the weekend and we lost one game, but we still achieved our goal,” he said.
“We don’t have a superhero or someone who is super quick, it is just the team. I always say if we play as a team we are superb.”
The final didn’t go all Hong Kong’s way, with Thailand taking a 7-0 lead before tries for Paul Altier and Ryan Walker either side of half-time gave Hong Kong the advantage.
Earlier in the day, tries for Jack Abbot and Coebergh’s fellow under-20 representatives James Karton and Altier saw Hong Kong win a tense semi-final 19-12 against Sri Lanka .
Hong Kong held on to a 14-7 victory over Thailand, successfully defended the Asian School Rugby Champion Title #becauseweloverugby
— HKRU (@HongKongRugby) July 24, 2016
Hong Kong finished second in pool A after wins over China (33-5), Guam (50-0) and India (56-0) on Saturday and a 21-5 loss on Sunday to Singapore, who topped the pool.
Thailand booked their spot in the final with a 19-14 semi-final victory over Singapore and pool B wins over Mongolia, Cambodia and Malaysia.