Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018: Hong Kong in tune for Asian Games after falling to Chile in Bowl final
Coach Paul John says the intensity in San Francisco is the perfect preparation for next month’s competition in Indonesia
Hong Kong came up short in the Bowl final against Chile at the Rugby World Cup Sevens on Monday but coach Paul John said he was not at all disappointed by the overall effort of his side as he looks to next month’s Asian Games.
Hong Kong went down 20-7 to Chile after earlier thumping Uruguay 31-5 in the Bowl semis, finishing the tournament with two wins and two losses and in 18th place overall.
The intensity of the World Cup will hold Hong Kong in good stead when they come up against the likes of Japan, China and Sri Lanka in Indonesia in a bid to at least match their silver medal from the 2014 Games.
“There is nothing like playing tournaments for gaining experience, we can train against each other as much as we like but it’s about actually playing in a tournament against different opposition, learning the game and how to adapt to different defences, different referees and different teams,” John said.
“You learn a lot during a tournament and it’s good for the boys to get game time in a quality tournament.”
Hong Kong will now have a week’s rest before ramping up their Asian Games preparation, with John expecting his side to take some confidence out of their effort in San Francisco.
“It was not disappointing at all. I think since our first half against Russia we have been overall pleased with the way the boys have gone considering the short time we have had together as a team,” he said.
It was all one-way traffic in the first half of the Bowl final, with Chile crossing three times on the way to a 15-0 lead at the break.
Hong Kong fought hard after half-time and got back within eight points thanks to a try to Cado Lee Ka-to but in the end Chile were too strong across the board.
“It was a tough ask in some ways for us because they are a good side,” John said. “I thought we defended OK but when we had the ball I just didn’t think we really hit in and took it to them as much as we did in the game before [against Uruguay].
“We weren’t as decisive as we were in the two games beforehand and it was difficult for us to take advantage of the possession we had.”
John praised the work of youngsters Liam Herbert, Max Denmark, Eric Kwok Pak-nga and Alessandro Nardoni, who all put in promising showings to ensure there will be plenty of competition for spots for Indonesia.
Kwok and Denmark were among five try scorers as Hong Kong ran amok against Uruguay in the semis, showing just what they can do when they are afforded space to create.
A try to skipper Ben Rimene got the ball rolling and Toby Fenn was in soon after as Hong Kong gained the early ascendancy, with Michael Coverdale, Denmark and Kwok putting the finishing touches on after the break.