Hong Kong and Japan can become the first Asian teams to figure in the HSBC Sevens World Series, says former England sevens captain Ben Gollings.
"Both Hong Kong and Japan have definitely got the ability to become core teams. I have been impressed with what I have seen in Asia and these two are the front runners from this region to push for a spot in London," said Gollings, who along with another sevens legend, Waisale Serevi, will be an ambassador at the Prudential Hong Kong Beach Fives at Repulse Bay this weekend.
"Asia is a hotbed of untouched talent and sevens rugby is at an exciting stage. While Hong Kong and Japan lead the way, I can see other countries like China making progress," Gollings said. "But the biggest problem facing China is geographical. It is like the United States, the vast size of that country makes it difficult and longer to identify talent."
Gollings, 32, witnessed Hong Kong's ascendancy to Asian champions when he was coach of Sri Lanka at the Asian Sevens Series last year. He retired from top-grade sevens in 2011 after the English RFU did not renew his contract. He is still the leading points-scorer, 2,652, in the world series.
"The Olympics will be another spur for the sport in Asia. I believe one place is available for every region in Rio and this will open up opportunities … Along with the world series, where I'm sure Asian sides will soon be playing, this will make things very interesting," Gollings said.
Gollings and Serevi will hold youth clinics and camps all week, beginning with a session at the Beach Fives tomorrow morning. They will also be involved in a two-day camp on Monday and Tuesday at King's Park in collaboration with the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union.