Asia Rugby Sevens Series: new faces for Hong Kong men in Sri Lanka for final leg
Hong Kong coach Paul John is confident his team will make the semis, and is resting some key players for the Sri Lanka leg of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series
Hong Kong men’s sevens coach Paul John is pretty confident in his squad heading into the third and final leg of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series, which takes place this weekend (October 13-14) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
So confident he has decided to leave a handful of key players behind, including captain Ben Rimene, top finisher Salom Yiu Kam-shing and forwards Michael Coverdale and Toby Fenn.
The men’s team only have to reach the semi-finals to clinch a second-placed finish in the series this year (they have lost to Japan in the two previous championships).
If they manage that, Hong Kong automatically book a spot in the international qualifier for the World Rugby Sevens Series at the Hong Kong Sevens next April, and also earn an invite as the 16th team to the Singapore Rugby Sevens the week afterwards.
John said the roster shake up is for two reasons, one is to rest key players who have been playing a lot of rugby, and the other is to get a look at some fringe players including long-term national training squad member Tomasi Lawa.
It's nearly time! The third and final round of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series takes place in Sri Lanka this weekend! pic.twitter.com/TKbiP4TLvZ
— Asia Rugby (@asiarugby) October 11, 2018
The 29-year-old Fijian got his first cap for the sevens in 2013 and plays for Kerry Hotel Kowloon in the Hong Kong Premiership.
“Tomasi has trained well and we need to give him and some of the other players an opportunity,” said John. “He has shown real commitment to the programme, even at times when he has not played a lot. He has always been pushing for that place and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
The men will play Taiwan and China on Saturday, and round out their group play on Sunday against Sri Lanka. The women play Sri Lanka and Japan on Saturday and finish off their group play against Korea on Sunday.