Best in Asia: stylish Hong Kong seal sevens series title
Jamie Hood’s heroes run rampant over South Korea to recapture regional crown
Please click on the link for the Hong Kong men’s sevens team results and final Asian Sevens Series standings.
Beijing was smog-ridden but Hong Kong couldn't care less as they breathed in the sweet scent of victory after being crowned Asian sevens champions for the second time on Sunday.
Hong Kong defeated South Korea 36-19 in the Cup final to win the third leg of the ARFU Asian Sevens Series in Beijing to add to earlier victories in Hong Kong and Malaysia. It has been a fantastic performance in the series for Hong Kong, who went through undefeated.
"Number one in Asia, yeah, we are massively happy to tick that box. It has been one of our goals for the last few years, we managed to do it a couple of years ago but it is the first time we managed to win 3-0 in any series," said delighted skipper Jamie Hood.
A brace each from Rowan Varty and Nick Hewson as well as one each from Lee Jones and Hood allowed Hong Kong to coast to a comfortable win after a closely contested first half in which Korea had led 12-10 at one stage.
In the end, Hong Kong's superior composure and all-round strength were too much for the young Korean outfit who had defeated Japan in the semi-finals.
"Korea are not a bad side, and we have faced them before in a final this season," Hood said.
"We were a little bit disappointed we didn't quite finish them off when we wanted to but we showed great maturity to come back and put on a really respectable score, scoring almost 40 points in a final.
"Obviously we still need to work on a few things. But at the end of the day, we got the victory and three-zip [3-0] in the series and we're very happy," added Hood.
Both Hong Kong and South Korea will qualify for the Hong Kong Sevens where the qualifying tournament to unearth the core team which will earn a place in next season's IRB Sevens World Series will be decided.
Hong Kong marched into the final by thrashing Thailand 55-0 in the quarter-finals and then Sri Lanka 26-0 in the semis. The Koreans beat Taiwan 17-10 in the last eight and then accounted for Japan 24-21.
Hong Kong's women's team finished third, beating Kazakhstan 14-12 in the play-off (see below), while Japan defeated China 24-19 in the Cup final.
“It was a fantastic game [against Kazakhstan]," said Hong Kong coach Anna Richards. "We started really well and then we let them back in from our mistakes, but the girls realised what they were doing and I thought they played exceptionally well this weekend.
“They really put it out there and gave it their all the whole weekend and I couldn’t be happier with our final result.”
Despite being pipped in their home final, China’s earlier win in Hong Kong and their runners-up position in Beijing were enough to see them crowned 2014 Asian sevens champions.