THE Hong Kong Rugby Football Union’s Head of Performance and Sevens coach Dai Rees has declared his side’s readiness ahead of their debut appearance in next month’s Spar International Sevens tournament set for Harare from March 9-10.
Rees said the tournament, which will feature 12 teams, will play a crucial role in Hong Kong’s bid to become a core team in the HSBC Sevens World Series next season.
Hong Kong have entered the 12-team Spar Sevens — to be held a fortnight before the Hong Kong Sevens — in an effort to ramp up preparations for the London Sevens in May, the final qualifying tournament to decide the three new core teams for the 2013-2014 season.
“The lads are up for the challenges of Harare, Hong Kong, London and Moscow. It is a formidable schedule, but we relish the opportunities to up the intensity of our preparations in what will be a pivotal year for Hong Kong,” Rees said yesterday.
“The players are presently involved in 15s competition (Hong Kong’s domestic league) and we will enter a condensed training period later this month, so we wanted to take every opportunity possible to achieve a level of intensity in training and competitions that will help prepare us for our role as the only non-World Series circuit team at the Hong Kong Sevens.
“The Spar Sevens presents us with an ideal opportunity to hopefully hit our peak ahead of Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong joins hosts Zimbabwe, Georgia, Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, the South African Rugby Union’s Sevens Academy team, composed of emerging Sevens stars alongside other South African teams the Buffaloes, Bulls, Leopards and the Pumas.
Zimbabwe’s second string side, the Goshawks, round out the 12-team competition.
According to reports from Hong Kong, a 15-member Hong Kong squad will start an intense training schedule after the Lunar New Year holiday, which this year, falls on February 10.
According to organisers of the tournament, a draw will be held on February 15. Hong Kong will depart for Zimbabwe on March 6.
Hong Kong Squad for Zimbabwe Tour
Anthony Haynes, Simon Leung, Kwok Ka-chun, Tsang Hing-hung, Jamie Hood, Rowan Varty, Salom Yiu Kam-shing, Alex McQueen, Tom McQueen, Cado Lee Ka-to, Nick Hewson, Eni Gesinde, Lee Jones, Ben Rimene, and Fan Shun-kei