Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018: Hong Kong show ‘attitude’ in dominant win over Jamaica in San Francisco
Paul John’s men are again slow out of the blocks but put their opponents to the sword with a four-try blitz either side of half-time
Hong Kong have Bowl glory in their sights at the Rugby World Cup Sevens after a four-try blitz fired them to a 24-10 win over Jamaica in San Francisco on Sunday morning.
For the second day in a row Paul John’s side were slow to get going but this time they found their groove with plenty of time to spare, outmuscling the Jamaicans to set up a Bowl semi-final meeting with Uruguay on Monday morning (Hong Kong time).
After admitting Russia’s core status weighed on Hong Kong’s “psyche” in a 21-7 first-day loss, captain Ben Rimene was pleased to see a strong response.
“There are still things to work on but it was definitely better than yesterday. We came out with a bit more attitude than what we did against Russia,” he said.
— Rugby World Cup Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) July 21, 2018
After Jamaica scored first, Hong Kong went into overdrive either side of half-time, with Jamie Hood and Salom Yiu Kam-shing dotting down in the shadows of the break to give Hong Kong the lead.
The game was over three minutes into the second half, with Alessandro Nardoni and Toby Fenn crossing in quick succession to put Hong Kong 19 points in front.
“Yesterday the boys were nervous and when you go 21 points down against a core team you are going to be in trouble,” John said.
“But at least today we bounced back, we had a good chat. We were nervous again, in that first half a few balls were inaccurate.
“If we can get rid of them and get the boys relaxed and start to play a bit, I think as we saw when we relaxed and played a bit we looked okay.”
Hong Kong entered the tournament seeded 19th and John is pleased to see them at least live up to that billing.
“I’m just pleased the squad bounced back and got that win because it was important to be in that 17-20 [bracket],” John said. “That was vital for us, that’s where our seeding dictates we are so we are there now and hopefully we can do the best we can.
“We have got to look at Uruguay now but it is more about getting our game right. We are letting sides have a little bit of momentum at the start of games and I think if we start games a little bit better we will be a more difficult side to play against, obviously.”
John praised the work of his young players in the pressure-cooker environment of AT&T Park.
“It’s brilliant for them. This is where they learn. It was great to see Liam [Herbert] get a try yesterday, Max [Denmark] has had a few good runs,” he said. “It’s important they enjoy the tournament but also get a lot out of it.”