Debutant Sombo Sisay sizzles as Hong Kong breeze through opening day of U-20 sevens
The 18-year-old has pace to burn and looks to be a star of the future as both local teams remain undefeated
She’s 18, lightning quick and has plenty to learn, but Sombo Sisay showed she has a big future in the game as Hong Kong’s women got their Asia Rugby Under-20 Sevens Series campaign off to a winning start.
With wins against Singapore (31-0), Malaysia (46-0) and India (39-0), the women’s side joined Hong Kong’s under-20 men in going through the opening day at King’s Park undefeated.
Debutant Sisay impressed on her wing, scoring tries against Malaysia and India and showing signs of things to come, while Grace Hood and Rose Wright also impressed for Hong Kong.
“It’s my first tournament so I’m pretty excited and nervous as well,” she said. “I just love running and how fast the game is, I’m really enjoying it.
After training as a sprinter for 10 years, Hong Kong-born Sisay has only been playing rugby for two years after being introduced to the game at Pui Kiu College and sticking with it on transferring to Heep Yunn School.
Sisay’s father is from Sierra Leone and her mum is Chinese and she has hopes of making it at senior level after joining the Hong Kong training squad two months ago.
“I want to keep playing and having fun, I’m getting to know my teammates and they are all very supportive,” she said.
“Being fast is quite a huge advantage, and also sticking to training and listening to my teammates [is important].”
Sisay also plays for Hong Kong University and only came on the radar of national coaches at an open trial at the beginning of June.
“She has just been fantastic, she has got out and out pace,” under-20 women’s coach Mark Komar said.
“Having been to Hong Kong University myself, I know a lot of the coaches there and they said ‘you’ve got to have a look at this girl’. We had a look and we are really impressed, she’s grown every game.”
Komar was impressed with his side’s day one performance, which leaves them well placed in the round-robin competition with three matches remaining on Saturday.
“All is going to plan, we were a little bit rusty in the first game but I’m really pleased with our defensive effort,” he said.
“We have been working a lot on that so it was pleasing to see that come about. Attacking wise, we look really good when we actually take it to the line and have a go at them. We are where we expected to be but we are not going to rest on our laurels.”
Mark Coebergh, Fong Kit-fung and Austin Robertshaw were dangerous as Hong Kong’s men notched wins over Uzbekistan (52-0), Thailand (31-0) and South Korea (38-0).
Hong Kong are on track to feature in the semi-finals and assistant coach Stephen Dowse feels the side is building nicely.
“I think the boys will take a lot of confidence from their attack [against Thailand],” he said. “Against Uzbekistan we learnt that when there is no pressure on us we are a good team, but there is only so much you can take from that.
“I think the pleasing thing there was that we played the whole game, we didn’t just get a few tries up and then sit back.”