Asian Sevens Series
The Asian Sevens Series was set up in 2011 by the Asian Rugby Football Union, now known as Asia Rugby, to raise the profile of the abbreviated game and help national teams prepare for the debut of rugby sevens at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Hong Kong chasing second successive series win at Mumbai Sevens
Young playmaker to give utmost to lead HK squad to second successive series win
Rugby playmaker Jamie Hood will face one of the biggest moments in his fledgling career as he attempts to marshall Hong Kong to a second successive victory at the Mumbai Sevens, the third and final ranking leg at the HSBC Asian Sevens Series this weekend.
Since stepping out of the shadow of flyhalf Keith Robertson, the former Cambridge Blue has carried the responsibility of steering Hong Kong, a job he has done with admirable resilience with the team leading the standings presently.
But Japan were absent from the last leg in Shanghai which was won by Hong Kong. The Asian champions have returned to Mumbai in full force knowing that a win will mean they remain Asia's number one.
"It was disappointing that Japan didn't turn up in Shanghai as we were in really good nick there. It's always good to play against the best and we will be pushing for victory again," Hood said.
Top status in Asia carries with it many privileges, including a place in the top-16 competition at next year's Hong Kong Sevens. It will also mean an easier draw at next month's World Cup Sevens qualifiers.
"It is a winners-take-all situation for us. We know we have to beat Japan to achieve all these goals, but it would be foolish to look ahead to the final. We have to win five games to get to that position first." said Hong Kong coach Dai Rees.
Hood and five other players who had been nursing injuries had all come through two training sessions since an expanded 14-strong squad landed in Mumbai on Thursday.
"We are 90 per cent okay. The guys have had two good training runs since arriving here. It has been intense but we are prepared and ready," Rees said.
Hong Kong will begin their campaign against hosts India today before taking on the United Arab Emirates and Thailand.