Hong Kong Bow Out in Cup Quarterfinals of Darwin Sevens

23 January, 2015

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Hong Kong failed to defend their Darwin Sevens title after losing 14-12 against Tribe 7s, a specialist Australian 7s club-side, in the cup quarter final.

Hong Kong was put under pressure early on in the quarter final as Tribe 7s collected the opening kick-off and marched to their opponent's line. The Hong Kong defence held for a substantial period but individual defensive lapses, (a problem that also impacted Hong Kong's day-one loss to Defendfire Spurs), saw Tribe 7s create an overlap that they quickly exploited for a try beneath the posts.

Hong Kong replied late in the first half after a strong individual effort by Lee Jones saw him cut through the defence for a try near the posts. The score capped an industrious tournament for Jones who looks fully fit again. Captain Jamie Hood's conversion was successful and the teams were level at seven-all at halftime.

Hong Kong also allowed an early try in the second half after Tribe 7s opted to kick the re-start deep. As Hong Kong was working the ball back up the pitch Hood was sandwiched by two defenders, his offload pass went to ground and Tribe 7s pounced on the opportunity, turning defence into attack and extending their lead to 14-7.

In the sixth minute, Rowan Varty brought Hong Kong within striking distance after taking a clever tap and run through the defence to touch down in the corner. The angle of the conversion was too steep for Hood whose attempt at the extras went narrowly wide, leaving Hong Kong trailing 12-14 with time running out.

As Hong Kong began to press heavily, Salom Yiu Kam-Shing was caught out on a tackle attempt and his opposite winger found space to take the ball deep into the Hong Kong half. Despite enjoying a favourable penalty count in the second half Hong Kong couldn't break the steady Tribe 7s defence. Ultimately, Hong Kong drew a penalty for playing the ball in the ruck and Tribe 7s kicked to touch to bring on the final whistle.

Hong Kong was again forced to rely on only 11 available players in the quarter finals after Keith Robertson and Michael Coverdale were ruled out of the tournament early on.

Robertson's loss was especially problematic, as Hong Kong had to shuffle its interior backline bringing Rowan Varty inside to cover during the tournament.Despite not returning to the cup final, the experience was a positive one for the side. HKSI rugby sevens coach Kane Jury commented on the tour saying, "It has been a very good training week for us at the Australian Institute of Sport in Darwin. To finish that with the opportunity to play in this very competitive tournament has allowed the squad to put a marker in the ground in our preparation for the HSBC Sevens World Series qualifiers in Hong Kong in March."