Hong Kong head coach Dai Rees remains upbeat about grabbing second place in the HSBC Asian Five Nations Top Five competition despite a 16-9 defeat by the Arabian Gulf in Bahrain. 'The reality is nothing has changed for us. We always needed to beat Kazakhstan if we were to finish second in this tournament and nothing has changed despite this loss,' Rees said. Flyhalf Keith Robertson knocked over three penalties, the last one 10 minutes from the end which gave Hong Kong a crucial bonus point for finishing within seven points. Flanker Mark Wright then scored a try with the last move of the game but the referee ruled he had knocked on collecting a pass from winger Salom Yiu Kam-shing. 'That bonus point is massive for us. Our dream is still on of making it to the World Cup repechage round,' Rees said. Hong Kong's next game will be against Kazakhstan at home next Saturday. Japan, the hot favourites to grab Asia's direct entry to next year's World Cup, began their campaign with a 71-13 rout of South Korea. Winger Kosuke Endo scored five of the 11 tries which Japan ran in. A superb defensive display by the Arabian Gulf denied Hong Kong a second successive win in the tournament - having defeated Korea 32-8 last weekend. Hong Kong just could not make any headway against the stifling defence of the home team. 'It was the best defensive performance I have seen in Asia,' Rees said. 'They tackled their hearts out and closed us down. We just couldn't break them, though we came close on several occasions. 'We made too many basic errors. We dominated territory and possession 70-30 but could not build any phases due to their excellent defence.' An intercept try from Arabian Gulf scrumhalf Jonny MacDonald in the first half proved to be the winning score in the end. Gulf flyhalf James Love converted that try and also knocked over three penalties. The Gulf led 13-3 at half-time. Hong Kong top the standings with seven points followed by Japan and Kazakhstan on six points each, although both these teams have played a game less.