It was at the historic 138-year-old Bombay Gymkhana that Hong Kong enjoyed their finest moment in sevens rugby last year when they were crowned Asian champions after beating Japan in the Cup final. Hong Kong will be hoping that’s a good omen as they try to hang on to their crown at the same venue on Sunday. “We hope this is our lucky ground. We have fond memories of it from last year and it would be great if we can repeat by reaching the final and winning it,” said Hong Kong head coach Dai Rees after the opening day of the third leg of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, the India Sevens, ended with his team unbeaten and on course for another clash with Japan in the final. Two workmanlike wins over China, 40-5, and Malaysia, 36-12, set up a Cup quarter-final clash against Singapore. That should not be a problem for Jamie Hood and his men. Even the expected semi-final, against either Sri Lanka or the Philippines doesn’t present much danger but then comes the problem – Hong Kong have lost to Japan in the finals of the first two legs. There are no injury worries and everyone is hungry for victory Dai Rees Winning in Mumbai is crucial for Hong Kong’s hopes of retaining their crown, and despite the poor track record this season, Rees was confident his side had turned the corner. “We have been a bit unlucky in both previous legs but I think we can do much better this time around. We had a very effective first day, there are no injury worries and everyone is hungry for victory,” Rees said. “We had two tough opponents, with China including a number of their better players who didn’t play in the first two legs, while Malaysia had all their Fijian players. Yet we played efficiently. It is going to be tough trying to keep our hopes alive. But before we can think of Japan, we have to get to the final.” Alex McQueen, skipper Hood, Lee Jones and Nick Hewson stood out for Hong Kong on the first day as they ran in a dozen tries, six in each game. Japan breezed past Taiwan and the Philippines with coach Tomohiro Segawa using his top players sparingly. “The conditions were hot and we need to protect all of the team in a two-day tournament,” said Segawa as he used his two leading players, skipper Lote Tuqiri and sevens sensation Lomano Lemeki, off the bench. Japan will meet Thailand in the Cup quarter-finals and should then take on either South Korea or Malaysia.