HK hit best ranking – and it could have been better
Hong Kong's celebration over their best-ever world ranking - 27th - was tinged with disappointment that their final opponents in the HSBC Asian Five Nations Top Five competition, the United Arab Emirates, are still not members of the International Rugby Board.
The newly formed UAE Rugby Association needs to play nine full internationals before the IRB will welcome it as its newest member. As such, last Saturday's 62-3 rout over the UAE counted for nothing when the IRB released its latest world rankings.
'We would have moved up even higher if the UAE had been a full member. Unfortunately, we didn't receive any points for that victory. Yet our best ranking will mean a lot to the players and the union,' said Hong Kong Rugby Football Union's head of performance Dai Rees.
Hong Kong have moved up nine spots since the start of the Asian Five Nations, and are now Asia's number two team behind Japan, ranked 13th.
Apart from the feel-good factor, a world ranking doesn't have any huge significance, as Rees admitted. 'It is all about maintaining our position of number two in Asia, and continuing to develop as a team. If we do that, the world ranking will look after itself.'
In the last two years, that development included tours to Europe in December. Hong Kong are looking to visit a warmer destination, so the weather has no adverse impact.