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Asia Rugby Sevens Series

Hong Kong lead rivals Japan a merry dance in Sri Lanka quagmire as they chase a World Cup berth in Asian series

Paul John quick to look to day two and hopes his side can carry on after impressive 19-7 win over the Brave Blossoms

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 October, 2017, 10:21pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 October, 2017, 12:01am

It will go down as one of Hong Kong’s more impressive sevens victories but coach Paul John knows his side’s 19-7 win over Japan in round three of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series in Sri Lanka will count for little if they don’t perform on day two.

The emphatic victory over the Brave Blossoms capped a near-perfect opening day for Hong Kong in wet and windy conditions, with three wins from three games laying the ideal foundation for their bid to leapfrog South Korea into the top two.

The top two finishers in the series earn the right to compete in next year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens and also the World Series qualifier at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in April.

“It’s good to beat Japan but it’s a big day tomorrow, the second day is the most important,” John said. “We are happy with the day but we know it’s a big task tomorrow to keep it going.”

A quarter-final meeting with Taiwan will give Hong Kong the chance to click back into gear before a likely semi-final against the hosts.

South Korea lead Hong Kong by two points in the race for second spot – meaning Hong Kong have to finish at least two places ahead of them to be assured a top-two berth.

Working in Hong Kong’s favour is the fact South Korea are on track to meet series leaders Japan in the semi-finals and John is confident his side can reproduce the stunning play that saw them defeat the Brave Blossoms.

“The boys have played well against Japan a few times that we’ve played them [in this series] and we’ve had a good look at them,” he said.

“We’ve lost a couple of line-outs against them that have proved costly in the other games and turnovers, in a game of sevens there’s such fine margins and turnovers are huge.

“Little things have a massive influence and can change the momentum very quickly. We kept our possession and we used it wisely.”

Seb Brien, Salom Yiu Kam-shing and Toby Fenn crossed in the win over Japan, while Yiu also scored twice as his side saw off Malaysia 34-5 shortly after defeating the Philippines 21-17.

Hong Kong under the pump as they chase a World Cup berth crucial to continued progress of professional sevens programme

Hong Kong’s women coasted to a 38-0 win over South Korea on the back of two tries to Aggie Poon Pak-yan before holding off Sri Lanka 10-5 thanks to tries to Colleen Tjosvold and Ivy Kwong Sau-yan.

Their day ended with a 17-5 loss to Japan, meaning they will face Thailand in the quarter-finals.