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Hong Kong get a local makeover

The Hong Kong team at this year's Women's Rugby Sevens will include more Chinese players than ever before.

Judy Ngao

The Hong Kong team at this year's Women's Rugby Sevens will include more Chinese players than ever before.

With 12 out of 16 players in the training squad, it is anticipated that the make-up of the final squad will be predominantly Chinese. In previous years it has mainly consisted of expatriates.

Team member Cookie Tse Man-sze said that having a mostly Chinese team meant better communication between players.

'Ten [of the 16] will be chosen to play at the Sevens, so it will definitely be more Chinese than usual,' Tse said.

At the official tournament draw for the ninth Hong Kong Women's Rugby Sevens, Hong Kong were grouped with 2005 Asian Women's Sevens Champions Kazakhstan and the Netherlands on day one of the tournament at the Hong Kong Football Club on March 31.

The other participating countries are China, New Zealand, the United States, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Sri Lanka and first-timers Guam.


New Zealand, Australia, United States and Kazakhstan were the seeded teams, based on their past results here and in recent international women's sevens competitions.

New Zealand will be returning to defend their perfect record as champions for the past eight years. They are seeded in pool A where they will play China and Japan.

Last year's cup finalists Australia, seeded in pool B, will face Singapore and Sri Lanka. The US, plate winners in 2005, take on Thailand and Guam in pool C.

After two days' play at the Football Club, competition moves to the Hong Kong Stadium on the Sunday where the final will be played in front of the 40,000 capacity crowd.


Tse said there was a slim chance the team would be able to play at the stadium in the cup final. 'We have never played in the finals. We'd be ecstatic if we could, but I feel that the other teams have improved year after year. It would be easier to win if we were in pool B,' she said.

Team coach Karen Williams said: 'Kazakhstan will be a really tough game. We have played against them several times before. The Netherlands are a completely unknown quantity.'


The former Hong Kong representative played against the Netherlands team in 1997.'It was the first time they had come to the Hong Kong Women's Sevens. They are big players,' Williams said.

'I will probably do a Google search later to see if there are any write-ups,' she laughed.