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Hong Kong claim Cup on first hosting of ARFU Sevens Series

Hong Kong, August 24 2014]:Hosts Hong Kong swept to a resounding 40-0 victory over South Korea to clinch the opening leg of the ARFU Asian Sevens Series on Sunday.

Buoyed by a large crowd at the Hong Kong Football Club, the home team lead by Jamie Hood put down a marker that they would be serious gold medal contenders at the Incheon Asian Games next month with a comprehensive display that blew surprise finalists Korea out of the water.

South Korea had stunned Japan in the Cup semi-finals, powering their way to a 28-21 victory to knock the defending Asian sevens champions out of the Cup final for the first time since the Shanghai Sevens in the inaugural year of the Asian Sevens Series in 2011.

But the Koreans looked leaden-footed in the finale and Hong Kong led by try-scoring machine Tom McQueen ran in six tries to win the first of the three-legged series this year.

“It was a pretty good weekend for me,” said McQueen who finished with a total of 12 tries including a hat-trick in the final. “My job was to finish the good work of the others and I’m happy I did that.”

The resounding victory will come as a huge boost for the sport, which only last year entered the government-backed elite training academy, the Hong Kong Sports Institute, where McQueen and others are fulltime athletes.

“We have showed progress in this tournament. We set our sights on winning this one which sets us up well for the rest of the series and will give us momentum going into the Asian Games,” said pleased head coach Gareth Baber.

“The boys introduced into the squad held their end up and we got the performance we needed out of them. Korea was a tough nut to crack for we know they can scores tries. But we made sure our defence was up to it,” added Baber.

Hong Kong cut loose in the second half after leading 12-0 at the break thanks to a brace from McQueen.

The flying winger completed his hat-trick after the break – his third hat-trick over the two days – before skipper Hood added the icing with a brace with debutant forward Jack Capon scoring a try too.

The resurgent Koreans produced a power-packed performance in the semi-finals with their strong defence rattling tournament favourites Japan and turning over vital possession. Korea scored first through Kim Jeong Min but pacey Japanese winger Matsui Chihito out-ran the Korean defence to level scores at 7-7 at the break.

Kim Keun Hyun struck first for Korea after the break but Japan drew back on level terms with a touchdown from Sione Teaupa. Sensing an upset, Korea pressed forward and their all-out attack paid dividends with Jang Seong Min diving in the corner to give his team a 21-14 lead.

The golden boot of Oh Youn Hyung kept adding the crucial extra points with touchline conversions as Korea kept the pressure on their rivals before the outstanding Yoon Tae Il added a fourth try to push Korea into the safety zone and stretch their lead to 28-7.

Japan captain Lomano Lemeki scored a consolation try right at the end to put some respectability on the defeat but there was no disguising the fact that Korea had outplayed them on the day.

Korea had earlier knocked out Philippines 29-12 in the Cup quarterfinals while Japan had held off a gutsy challenge from China before merging 19-7 victors.

Hong Kong booked their berth in the Cup final with a sweeping 38-0 win over Singapore in their first game of the day before holding off a spirited challenge from Sri Lanka to win 21-0.

Winger Tom McQueen, who scored four tries in the demolition job over Singapore, took his tournament tally to nine tries when he touched down early with a solo effort but Sri Lanka refused to bow down and could have gone into halftime with scores level if not for skipper Fazil Marija dropping a try-scoring pass from the impressive Anuruddha Wilwara, whose break down the left wing almost caught the defence napping.

Despite enjoying plenty of possession, Hong Kong made heavy weather and it was left to a try from substitute Salom Yiu Kam-shing to bring some relief before debutant forward Jack Capon sealed the result with a third try.

Japan rebounded to win bronze 42-12 over Sri Lanka.

The men’s series will now move to Malaysia, where the second leg will be played on September 6-7 at the Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. The next and last women’s tournament will coincide with the third leg of the men’s series in Beijing on October 18-19.

In the women’s competition, China ran in six tries as they out-muscled hosts Hong Kong 38-7 to press home their credentials as Asia’s number one sevens team.

China booked their berth in the final with a hard-fought 19-12 win over Kazakhstan but then turned on the style in the final to sweep past the home team easily.

Hong Kong had earlier pulled off a major shock by defeating Japan 10-5 in the semi-finals. Two second-half tries by Aggie Poon and Amelie Seure helped the hosts to a stunning win over Japan.

 

China Men’s team took home the Plate beating Singapore 31-nil in the final while Thailand took home the Bowl after beating Chinese Taipei 19-12. Sri Lanka Women’s Sevens team beat Thailand 19-14 to take the Women’s Plate.

 

Posted on 2014-08-25 08:18:11
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QUESTION?

Should Dilshan have continued until Cricket World Cup 2019?

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THE DAY'S QUOTE

“That was pathetic. No excuse at all. The whole team is responsible. Whoever the captain is, we have to back him and try and support him. The captain has to do so many other stuff. All the 11 guys must back him and support him.” “We have addressed the issue of finishing off the overs on time in the past as well, but it cropped up again. It’s so unfortunate to see Upul going out as he is a crucial player in our set up. He batted well against South Africa and it’s so unfortunate. This can’t happen again,” - Angelo Mathews

FEEDBACK/COMMENTS

Cricket is a game of fine margins and Mathews is set to be a modern great. Hang in their Angie, this team can achieve something on this tour. Thirimane and the youngsters form was a real positive. Prasad was missed. Chameera should be persisted with. If Bairstow was our early outcome could have been very different.

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