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Hong Kong Sevens

Hong Kong Sevens beckons for Cathay Pacific flight attendant Agnes Tse: ‘I could never have imagined it’

The winger is one of five debutants named by Kevin West as the hosts look to mesh experience with enthusiasm

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 March, 2018, 5:41pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 March, 2018, 10:34pm

She’s been in the Hong Kong squad less than two weeks but Agnes Tse Wing-kiu will live out a dream she thought had passed her by in next week’s Women’s Sevens World Series qualifier.

The 27-year-old has come from the clouds to earn her spot in the final 12 and is one of five debutants in a new-look Hong Kong team.

While Tse has been part of Hong Kong development squads, she wasn’t selected for the tour to Borneo two weeks ago and only came in as injury cover for fellow winger Chong Ka-yan.

“It could have come a bit earlier,” she joked about her debut. “But I think that this is a good age because I’ve had a few years development.

“I was very surprised, I could never have imagined it. I’m very excited, it’s an honour to be here and it’s a big chance to show ourselves and other Hong Kong girls what we can do.”

Tse’s job as a flight attendant for Cathay Pacific has hindered her ability to train in the past but she has found a way to juggle work and rugby.

After impressing at club level for City Sparkle, she was also recently added to the Hong Kong 15s squad.

“I come to training when I get my day off, I get a bit tired, you could say, balancing work and training, but I’m happy doing it,” she said.

Tse, the only member of the Hong Kong squad not training full time at the Sports Institute, is joined by Vivian Poon Hoi-yan, Agnes Chan Tsz-ching, Amber Tsang Wing-chi and Stephanie Chan Chor-ki on sevens debut and she feels there is a good mix of experience and youth.

“The senior girls are very experienced so I think they will push the junior girls to a higher level,” Tse said about a squad that features eight-time Hong Kong Sevens representatives Christy Cheng Ka-chi and Natasha Olson-Thorne.

Hong Kong finalised their squad after a training session at the institute on Friday, with coach Kevin West labelling the rise of Tse “a great story”.

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“She came in and she’s done really well, it’s great to see. She hasn’t been in the programme, we brought her in after Borneo when we knew Ka-yan was injured to have extra cover and she’s fought her way into the team.”

As well as Chong, big names Lindsay Varty, Aggie Poon Pak-yan, Amelie Seure and Candy Cheng Tsz-ting are missing from a squad that has six changes from last year’s Sevens.

Hong Kong missed the finals 12 months ago – and the chance to play in the main stadium on the Friday – and it will be no easier this time around, with China, Kazakhstan and Brazil awaiting in a daunting pool Y.

China and Kazakhstan finished above Hong Kong in last year’s Asia Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, while Brazil were relegated from the world series at the end of last season and are hell-bent on winning their way back in.

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“It’s a very similar pool in that Brazil are extremely physical [like China and Kazakhstan],” West said.

“Perhaps they have a little bit more of that Brazilian flair and pace, so it is going to be a very tough, physical battle for us. But we have to play China and Kazakhstan every year, so why avoid it?”