Red-hot Hong Kong rebound from Japan defeat with a stunning seven-try demolition of Singapore
Coach Hull praises ‘dominant’ win over Lionesses and hopes newfound confidence remains for second ARC clash against Sakura 15
Hong Kong ran in seven tries in a 40-7 away romp over Singapore on Saturday in a confidence-boosting warm-up game ahead of the second and final leg of the 2016 Women’s Asia Rugby Championship series against Japan.
A hot start at Singapore’s covered National Stadium saw Hong Kong get on the scoreboard score within 60 seconds through Natasha Olson-Thorne – captain of the Hong Kong sevens squad who was playing at outside centre for the 15s team.
A second try came just eight minutes later through prop Tammy Lau Nga-wun – the 2015-16 HKRU Women’s Premiership player of the year who plays her club rugby for Gai Wu.
Winger and pivot Aggie Poon Pak-yan slotted the first of the two conversions before adding a penalty with just 14 minutes gone.
Poon then scored the next 10 points for Hong Kong – getting over in the 26th minute and adding a second try four minutes before half-time – to give the tourists a commanding 25-7 lead at the break.
Hong Kong exploded out of the blocks at the start of the second period with Lau collecting her brace three minutes after the restart.
Captain Chow Mei-nam added to the forwards’ effort in the 60th minute with her first try for the national team. Candy Cheng then ran in Hong Kong’s seventh to wrap up scoring in the match and seal a convincing victory.
Hong Kong coach Jo Hull credited her forwards for a “dominant” display against Singapore. “Our set piece performed very well and we were able to set up a dominant platform at the scrum and line-out which led to the pack tries,” she said.
Hull also lavished praised on the halves pairing of Lai Pou-fan, who came in at fly-half only this week, and Colleen Tjosvold behind the scrum.
“[Lai] really controlled the game and the combination with Colleen at scrum-half worked really well,” said Hull.
“We used our full bench to have a look at some new combinations and the girls are creating some real selection dilemmas now. There is a lot of positive competition, not just to stay in the match-day 23 but to crack the starting 15 which shows the growing confidence in the side.”
Hull said she was pleased with the response from the senior squad members after last week’s 39-3 loss to Japan in the first round of the Asian women’s championship – the win over Singapore handing Hull her first victory as coach of Hong Kong.
“We played with a lot of confidence [against Singapore], which was great to see. We generated a lot more go-forward ball and were much more accurate under pressure than last week,” Hull said.
“We can take a lot of confidence and some good lessons away from this match, particularly about what kind of shape we want to be in in our attack, but we’re under no illusions about what this result means for Japan [on 28 May],” she added.
Hong Kong line-up versus Singapore (14 May)
1. Tammy Lau Nga-wun; 2. Winnie Siu Wing-ni; 3. Cheung Shuk-han; 4. Claire Forster; 5. Chow Mei-nam (c); 6. Christine Gordon; 7. Melody Li Nim-yan; 8. Amelie Seure; 9. Colleen Tjosvold; 10. Lai Pou-fan; 11. Chong Ka-yan; 12. Rose Fong Siu-lan; 13. Natasha Olson-Thorne; 14. Aggie Poon Pak-yan; 15. Adrienne Garvey
Replacements: 16. Karen So Hoi-ting; 17. Ku Hoi-ying; 17. Lee Ka-shun; 18. Angela Chan Ka-yan; 19 Cheng Ching-to; 20. Sharon Tsang Shin-yuen; 21. Lindsay Varty; 22. Cheng Tsz-ting; 23. Lau Sze-wa