Hong Kong’s men regain Asia under-20 sevens crown in emphatic style as Fong Kit-fung steals the show
A 36-0 win over Sri Lanka in the final caps a flawless two days for Fan Shun-kei’s side, while the women finish third
Hong Kong’s men regained the Asia Rugby Under-20 Sevens Series crown in emphatic style at King’s Park on Saturday, with Fong Kit-fung the star of the show.
Hong Kong defeated Sri Lanka 36-0 in the final, with Fong staking his claim for a spot in Paul John’s senior team for the upcoming Asia Rugby Sevens Series with a dominant two days.
It’s been a rapid rise for 19-year-old Fong, who is training with Hong Kong’s senior team at the Sports Institute.
“In the last year he has come from Tin Shui Wai club rugby, been part of the Warriors programme, then was engaged in the national age grade programme and he’s just worked his socks off and he’s now got that opportunity with the SI programme,” Hong Kong under-20 assistant coach Stephen Dowse said.
“In terms of a player who has shown what’s possible by hard work and dedication and really wanting it, he’s come from nowhere really to now be in the men’s sevens programme.”
While it is only early days for the lighting-quick winger, Fong is enjoying the challenge as he follows his dream of emulating his hero Salom Yiu Kam-shing.
“There is big pressure [at the SI] but it’s a new challenge, I’m learning so many skills,” he said. “The people around the Hong Kong team are at a higher level than the Warriors, so there is more positive pressure and I’m learning fast.
“I’m working on my passing and decision making, I want to play at a higher level to learn and make myself better.”
Fong scored 11 tries to be the tournament’s top scorer, notching the first two of Hong Kong’s 41-5 semi-final win over Taiwan.
The victory over Sri Lanka in the decider saw Hong Kong win back the title they held in 2014 and 2015, before coming in second behind Sri Lanka last year.
Paul Altier led the way with three tries and two conversions as the hosts blew their opponents away in the final, with Max Denmark, Cameron Smith and Oliver Duffy also crossing.
“Half of our team are only 18 so this is a massive achievement, because so many of them still have two years to go,” Hong Kong coach Fan Shun-kei said.
“It’s a really good performance they put in across the two days and I’m very happy with the result. We played as a team, we defended as a team and we believed in ourselves and showed everyone what a team looks like.”
James Karton and Chong Shun-hong – who are also training with the senior team at the SI – impressed throughout the tournament, while captain Mark Coebergh marshalled his troops with aplomb.
Earlier in the day, Hong Kong defeated Singapore 24-0 to ensure they went through pool play without conceding a point, with Fong crossing twice and Austin Robertshaw and Smith also scoring.
Hong Kong’s women endured a disappointing day two, going down to eventual champions China 41-0 and runners-up Thailand 36-12 to end the tournament in third place, falling short of their second-place finish of the past two years.
“It was a bit disappointing but I’m pleased with the way they fronted up and it’s a learning experience, they can take something away from this,” coach Mark Komar said.
“Jasmine Fung [Hoi-ching] impressed, she played almost every minute, she’s a local girl who has only been playing for eight months and it is really pleasing to see her development.”