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HK Magazine Archive

Meet the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens Team

Kevin Kaho Tsui chats up seven players from Hong Kong's local squad, The Hong Kong Dragons.

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 March, 2013, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 3:38pm

Cado Lee

Position: Scrum-Half

HK: How did you get started in rugby?

Cado Lee:
I started playing when I was in high school in England. When I returned to Hong Kong for my university studies, I managed to get into the Under 20s team and have been training and playing progressively since then.

HK: How are you preparing for this year’s tournament?

CL:
I was injured last year, so I was just on the sidelines watching the team play. I’m now fully fit for this year’s tournament and I’m really looking forward to it. Last year the whole team played really well, but we got little bit unlucky with one of our players getting a red card and eventually we lost to Japan. If we play as well as we did, I think we have a real good chance of winning something this year.

HK: Best moment of the Sevens?

CL:
Definitely last year’s match between Hong Kong and Japan. We all thought we were going to lose, but we kept fighting and managed to take it into extra time. Although we lost the match, I was really moved by the spirit of the whole team and the amazing support from the crowd.



Salom Yiu

Position: Winger

HK: How did you get started with rugby?

Salom Yiu:
I went to my first Hong Kong Rugby Sevens event as a spectator in 2000, back when they had only five Chinese players on the whole team, and I was extremely fascinated by the freshness and excitement of the sport, so I started learning and doing research about it.

HK: Who are your biggest / most challenging competitors and why?

SY:
For Asian countries, it’s definitely Japan. Otherwise, I would hope to not have to face Fiji. They’re an extremely physical and strong team, but I would love to gain valuable experience from playing against them.

HK: Funniest moment you’ve witnessed?

SY:
There was this time when a spectator ran all the way onto the pitch and managed to climb all the way up to the poles on the touchline. I love these moments as they are part of what Rugby Sevens is all about, but if it happens during the middle of a game—it happened to us once a few years ago—I think it shows a lack of respect to the event and the team players who are fighting for their country.

HK: What’s your favorite place to hang out after the games?

SY:
We usually go to LKF after each year’s Sevens and mingle with players from other teams.

HK: Why do you think Hong Kong Sevens is such a popular event?

SY:
Well, first of all, I think people from around the world love Hong Kong as a city. It’s a city that allows you to have maximum fun in and out of the event. Audience size is massive at the stadium and the South Stand is so famous worldwide. I’ve been to tournaments in other countries such as Japan and the atmosphere was lacking the excitement that Hong Kong has, and also the weather wasn’t as nice.

 

Ben Rimene

Position: Fly-Half

HK: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ben Rimene:
I’m from New Zealand and grew up playing rugby from a very young age. I’ve been living in Hong Kong for about four years now. I played my first Sevens tournament in Shanghai last year and this is my first Hong Kong Sevens event. I’m super, super excited!

HK: Any team that you don’t want to play against?

BR:
I don’t know if I’ll ever not want to play anyone because the stronger they are, the better experience we gain from them! But all the top teams like New Zealand, Samoa and England will be difficult to play against.

HK: Streakers run onto the pitch all the time. What do you make of that?

BR:
Oh, as a spectator I love it! It’s a bit of fun and they rarely do it during the games.

HK: Where do the Hong Kong players hang out after the games?

BR:
Haha. Being full-time athletes we don’t really drink. [Winks.] But sometimes the whole team will head over to LKF or Wan Chai for social events.

 

Lee Jones

Position: Hooker

HK: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

LJ:
I got into rugby because where I’m from—New Zealand—everybody plays the sport. I started at the age of 10 and I’ve been playing for 17 years now in total.

HK: Thoughts on your opponents this year?

LJ:
Fiji is going to be very tough, as well as Canada and Spain. But we’re really looking forward to the challenge with Fiji. It’s gonna be a great experience for the team for sure!

HK: What makes the Hong Kong Sevens so special?

LJ:
I guess it’s probably because it’s the original Sevens tournament. And for us, even though we’re a small team, the amount of support we get from the home crowd is immense. Support from fans is really important and it makes it that much more special for us during the games.

HK: Personal favorite moment of the Sevens?

LJ:
Last year was my first tournament, so that’ll always be a special year for me.

HK: Where do you guys hang out after the games?

LJ:
I usually head to the gym! Joking. Nah, we usually have maybe a couple of drinks and chill together, nothing too crazy.

HK: Does being on the Sevens team help you get girls?

LJ:
No! I haven’t had any offers yet, but I’m open.


Alex McQueen & Tom McQueen (brothers)

HK: How did you guys get started?  
A&T:
We both grew up in Hong Kong and we started playing rugby around the age of 7. Tom plays as a winger and Alex plays as a fullback. Our first tournament was in 2008 and we’ve both played lots of other tournaments across the Asian series.

HK: Is the Hong Kong Sevens the best tournament out of all the Sevens you’ve played at?
A&T:
Definitely, especially growing up in Hong Kong. We’ve been to the Wellington Sevens before, and having watched the other series on TV, it always seems like Hong Kong has the best atmosphere. The crowd is right at the side of the pitch and it really makes it more exciting.

HK: Do you guys think the HK team has a good chance of landing any trophy this year?
A&T:
Our goal is to always perform well, especially on Sunday. We don’t really have control over the way it’s all going to end up. Anything could happen in the pool. Realistically, we could come second or third in the pool, but it’s unlikely that we can win all three games. But we do know we’re always going to try our best and see how we perform on the day.

HK: Best moment of the Sevens for you guys?
A&T:
Definitely when we won the Shield in 2010. Also, whenever we upset some of the favorite teams. We’ve beaten Tonga twice in front of our home crowd—that was definitely a special and rewarding feeling.

HK: Thoughts on streakers running onto the pitch?
A&T:
We love it. As long as they don’t influence the game, we don’t have any issues with it. It’s all part of the Sevens!
 

Rowan Varty

Position: Winger (HK Sevens Team Captain)

HK: Tell us little bit about yourself.
RV:
I started playing when I was 9 years old. My parents used to take me to the Sevens every year when I was young. One year I saw all the junior rugby teams playing and thought it was pretty cool, and so I got involved and started playing. I play as a winger, and this is my eighth Sevens tournament.

HK: What makes the Hong Kong Sevens so special?
RV:
The Hong Kong Sevens is not just a big party, it’s also an important time of the year for the rugby community in Hong Kong as well as a big family event for spectators from around the world, who come together to witness the annual sporting event. Sometimes in other tournaments such as the Wellingtons, the crowd is more focused on partying, but at the Hong Kong Sevens, the rugby is definitely the primary reason why it’s so attractive.

HK: What do you think of the draw for the Hong Kong Team this year?
RV:
Fiji is ultimately one of the best Sevens teams of all time, as well as the defending champion of the Hong Kong Sevens. They’re tough to play no matter who you are, but for the spectators what more can you ask for? The host team playing against the defending champion in their opening match!

HK: Special moments at the Sevens?
RV:
When we were younger and playing at the Sevens, we’d always try to come up with funny try celebrations. Good memories. Personally, when we won the shield in 2010, it was an amazing feeling. As a spectator, last year’s Sevens final was an incredible match. We witnessed a great comeback from New Zealand at the end of the game.