Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022
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Hong Kong’s Harry Sayers attacks the Uganda defence on day two of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town. Photo: Mike Lee/KLC fotos for World Rugby

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022: Hong Kong end with final flourish against Tonga in Cape Town

  • Paul John’s side secure 17-0 victory on Sunday, looking back to their best after defeat by Uganda
  • Liam Doherty, Michael Coverdale and Hugo Stiles all go over in comfortable win

Hong Kong ended their 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign on a high with a 17-0 victory against Tonga at Cape Town Stadium.

The result secured 19th place for Paul John’s side, who finished the weekend in South Africa with two wins and two defeats.

Knocked out of main contention on Friday after losing to Uruguay, Hong Kong bounced back by brushing aside Zimbabwe 28-0 – only to struggle in a tight 14-5 loss to Uganda in the Bowl semi-finals.

Head coach John revealed several members of his squad had been dealing with food poisoning since arriving in South Africa. But they looked back to their best in a comfortable final flourish.

“I just thought it was good to see the boys show what they were capable of,” John said. “A very good win against a very physical Tongan team. Good to see everyone firing again.”

Hong Kong got the opening try when Liam Doherty found a gap in the Tonga defence to burst through just before the break. Hugo Stiles added the extras.

Some smart play from Stiles then set up Michael Coverdale to barge over for Hong Kong’s second try early in the second half.

Tonga were not finished, pushing hard to get back into the game. Hong Kong tried to soak up the pressure, but gave away a couple of penalties, which Tonga were unable to make count.

A head injury for Tonga No 12 John Tapueluelu with a minute to go brought a lengthy halt to proceedings, and some respite for Hong Kong.

When play resumed, Stiles wrapped things up by going over a minute into added time.

Hong Kong’s semi-final conquerors Uganda later beat Germany in a back-and-forth Bowl final, winning 19-12. A try from Ian Munyani in the final minute made sure of victory.

Germany had taken the lead, Anton Gletiza touching down after five minutes with Fabian Heimpel making the conversion.

But Philip Wokorach went over and converted his try to bring Uganda level in first-half added time.

Wokorach was accurate from the tee again when Michael Okarach crossed two minutes after the restart, giving Uganda a 14-7 lead.

Ben Ellermann went over two minutes from time to set up a thrilling finale, but Nicklas Koch’s kick was wayward, and Munyani soon pounced.

In the main draw, New Zealand set up a clash with Fiji for the Melrose Cup in the final of the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Ngarohi McGarvey-Black scored a slick hat-trick as defending champions New Zealand ended Ireland’s fairy-tale run with a battling 17-10 win.

Two-time champions Fiji then ran in six tries in a 38-14 thrashing of Australia to set up a clash between the two most successful teams in the tournament’s history.

No 6 McGarvey-Black ran in twice in the first two minutes to give the Kiwis a dream start on Sunday afternoon in South Africa, and a 10-0 lead.

But Jack Kelly gave Ireland – who had shocked hosts South Africa in the quarter-finals on Saturday night – some hope by crossing two minutes into first-half added time.

Andrew Smith then levelled things up by going over soon after the restart, setting up a grandstand finish – only for McGarvey-Black to complete his hat-trick late on, with Kurt Baker added the extras.

Fiji took an early lead against Australia when Filipe Sauturaga crossed after three minutes, with Waisea Nacuqu making the conversion.

Nacuqu then got in on the act himself, scoring to make it 12-0 with five minutes gone before missing from the tee.

Nick Malouf got the Aussies back in it before the break, with Dietrich Roache converting the try to cut the deficit to 12-7.

But Iosefo Masi delivered a hammer blow to Australia’s chances, touching down three minutes into first-half added time as Fiji persisted. This time Nacuqu was on target with his kick.

The result was put beyond doubt when Kaminieli Rasaku went over and Nacuqu added the conversion for 26-7 after nine minutes.

Josh Turner quickly replied to give Australia a glimmer of hope, but normal service was resumed when Jeremaia Matana crossed two minutes from time.

Viwa Naduvalo then rubbed salt into the wounds with one final try to round out a comprehensive victory.

Earlier, hosts South Africa suffered another disappointing defeat after their shock quarter-final loss to Ireland, as they went down 26-19 to Argentina.

The Blitzboks will play for seventh place against Samoa, who were beaten 24-17 to France.