France and Japan on top after Day One of Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens

07 April 2016

France and Japan lived up to their pre-tournament billing on day one of the Hong Kong Women's Rugby Sevens at King's Park, while home side Hong Kong left itself with work to do on day two. Tomorrow's Hong Kong Women's Rugby Sevens action will be held at Hong Kong Football Club.

Hong Kong must beat Japan to jump above Argentina and make it through to the finals.

France notched three wins from three starts in pool A to lock in a semi-final berth, while Kazakhstan and South Africa will fight it out for the other spot.Japan, Hong Kong and Argentina can all still make the finals in pool B.

The home team got their tournament underway with a thumping 45-0 win over Sri Lanka, with Aggie Poon Pak-yan running in three tries and Natasha Olson-Thorne crossing in her first game as captain. Sri Lanka had no answers for a rampaging Hong Kong, who completely dominated the hapless Sri Lankans with slick passing and fierce tackling.

Hong Kong's second match was a torrid, low-scoring affair, with Hong Kong struggling to find any fluency against a disciplined Argentina outfit in a 12-5 loss.

"Unfortunately in that game we just lacked a bit of patience," Hong Kong coach Anna Richards said.

"We just let mistakes creep into our game under pressure and that does happen. We let Argentina rattle us a bit at the breakdown and there was a bit of a free fall there, but we just didn't take our opportunities."

Hong Kong's last match against Thailand was a must win and it was all one-way traffic, with the local team streaking away to a 24-0 win that saw Richards leave day one content.

"We tried to force the issue a little bit against Argentina and we made some good opportunities and we killed it," Richards said."This time we were very patient, which I thought was great."

Debutant Lee Tsz-ting and Colleen Tjosvold were shining lights for Hong Kong, while Christine Gordon and Chong Ka-yan were amongst the try scorers.

France show quality on day one

Highly fancied France took a while to get going in their opening match before eventually overcoming Kenya 22-5, before flexing their muscles in a 39-7 thumping of China.

They finished the day with a narrow 12-10 win over Kazakhstan, with Montserrat Amédée and Noémie Sanch amongst the tries with three each for the day.

With his side semi-final bound, coach Paul Albaladéjo praised the evenness of effort from his charges, but refused to look past their final pool match.

"I'm very happy after day one," Albaladéjo said. "Very happy for my team, everyone was very good and it was a good job. We are now focusing on game number four tomorrow against South Africa. After that, I don't yet know the way."

Japan looking ominous for opponents

Hong Kong faces a Japan side that looks ominous after belting Sri Lanka 41-0, knocking off Thailand 22-7 and finishing the day with a 50-0 drubbing of Argentina. Hong Kong will face Japan in the last pool match tomorrow at 10.00am.

Japan shared the scoring load across a wide range of players, with Yukari Tateyama and Ayumi Yabuuchi just two of the players to get in on the act.

Argentina was most impressive prior to their effort against Japan, shrugging off Thailand (19-12), Hong Kong and Sri Lanka (30-5).Gonzalez Sofia was one of her side's best, crossing four times throughout the day and constantly creating opportunities for her teammates.

Nadine Roos was impressive for a South Africa side that won two and lost one, scoring four tries for the day.

For Kazakhstan, Lyudmila Korotkikh also got amongst the points, registering four tries as her side won two of their four matches.

There were mixed results for China, with a first up 10-5 win over Kazakhstan followed by losses to France (39-7) and South Africa (7-0)

It was a tough day at the office for Kenya, Thailand and Sri Lanka, with each side going winless.