ARFU Asian Sevens Series 2014
The 2014 Asian Sevens Series is the top rugby sevens tournament for teams in Asia, organised by the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU). It comprises three legs – Hong Kong in August, Malaysia in September and China in October.
Games boost as Hong Kong win first leg of Asian Sevens Series
Led by a rampant Tom McQueen, hosts put in a complete performance to hammer South Korea in the final ahead of Incheon Asiad
To watch the finals and other Hong Kong games from the tournament, please click here.
The results at the opening leg of the Asian Sevens Series in Hong Kong this weekend will provide a huge confidence boost for the men's and women's teams ahead of the Asian Games next month – if Sunday's performances are repeated in Incheon, the players will return home with gold (men) and silver (women) medals.
Hong Kong hammered surprise finalists South Korea 40-0 in the men's final to win the first of the three-legged 2014 Asian Sevens Series. The women, buoyed by a packed crowd at the Hong Kong Football Club, also reached their final after knocking out fancied Japan in the semi-finals before losing to Asian juggernauts China, 38-7.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend for the hosts and one person who would have enjoyed it more than most was flying winger Tom McQueen, who topped the try-scoring lists with 12 from five games, including three hat-tricks, the most telling in the final.
"Yeah, it was pretty good," he said, something of an understatement. "It is my job to score tries and it feels good, especially to win a final 40-0 over Korea. We hardly made any mistakes in that match."
Indeed, Hong Kong didn't put a foot wrong against Korea; it seemed the exertion of knocking Japan out in the semi-finals, 28-21, had taken the spring out of their step as they folded meekly.
Korea managed to restrict Hong Kong, or should it be McQueen, to two tries in the first half, but the home team then cut loose, running in four more in the second half with the winger completing his hat-trick while skipper Jamie Hood added a brace and debutant Jack Capon one more.
"We set our sights on winning this one and this sets us up for the series and will give us momentum going into the Asian Games," said head coach Gareth Baber. "Winning is great and it will do a great deal of good for our confidence but we've got to be careful we don't think it is all done and dusted.
"When you lose it highlights areas we have to work on but now we must look at ways to see how we can improve."
Hong Kong had a relatively easy passage into the final, knocking out Singapore 38-0 in the quarters before warding off Sri Lanka 21-0.
An ironclad defence coupled with solid work at the breakdown and contact area helped mesh together a complete performance.
While McQueen stole the show, Baber credited the forwards for allowing him to shine.
"That is rugby for you. The forwards did all the hard work and put in huge performances at the breakdown and tackle areas. We have done a lot of work in these areas in training and we got it right this weekend," Baber said.
The momentum will be behind them, but Hong Kong can expect the going to get tougher at the second leg in Kuala Lumpur early next month followed by the all-important Asian Games
"We want targets on our backs," added Baber. "We've got to work hard and get people looking at us. We've got a lot of work to do and must be as humble as we need to be."