Hong Kong head to Borneo Sevens for first tournament under new coach Paul John

Experienced team faces final hit-out ahead of Hong Kong Sevens mission

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 March, 2017, 5:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 March, 2017, 5:36pm

New Hong Kong head rugby coach Paul John gets his first look at his players in action this weekend as they head to Malaysia on Friday for the Borneo Sevens.

John arrived from Wales to take over ahead of next month’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, where Hong Kong are looking to win the World Series Qualifier tournament and join the elite World Sevens Series.

The Borneo tournament, with players and teams from New Zealand, Australia and Fiji, will be their last hit-out ahead of the flagship event.

HK were runners-up last year and are seeded as the top team in Pool B in the 10-team tournament, alongside the Malaysia Sevens team and regional clubs Sabah Eagles, Dinowin and Alabang Eagles.

Pool A sees defending champions NZ Borneo Eagles, Australian sevens club side Tribe 7s, COBRA club from Kuala Lumpur and the national teams of Singapore and Sri Lanka, who are in the same pool as Hong Kong in the World Sevens Series Qualifier.

New HK coach Paul John quietly confident after Hong Kong Sevens draw

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said John. “Borneo will give me a good feel for the squad and the chance to see the boys in a competitive environment as we look ahead to the qualifier in April. It will also be a chance for me to get to know they boys a bit better and for them to get to know me.

“Being in a tournament is the best way to see how the team reacts to different situations and how they react under pressure.

“It’s a veteran squad and Jevon [Groves, sevens coach] has been doing some great work with the team since Gareth [Baber, former head coach] left. Jevon and I work very well together dating back to the days when he was one of my players and we will continue to do that this weekend and heading into the qualifier,” added John.

“Hopefully by the end of the weekend we will have a good idea of where we are at ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens and know exactly what we need to continue working on.”

Hong Kong squad:

Max Woodward (capt), Chris Maize, Mike Coverdale, Mark Wright, Toby Fenn, Lee Ka-to, Jamie Hood, Ben Rimene, Alex McQueen, Rowan Varty, Yiu Kam-shing, Ryan Meachem