Sevens boss hails HK spirit after Borneo cup semi run

Sports | Mar 20, 2017
Hong Kong coach Paul John hailed the spirit of his players after they went down fighting in a 26-19 loss to Australian side Tribe 7s in the Cup semi-finals of the Borneo Sevens.

Despite Salom Yiu Kam-shing scoring the opening try, Tribe took a 19-7 lead at half-time after scoring three quick tries. A try by Cado Lee Ka- to, following good work from Toby Fenn, cut the deficit to 19-14 with six minutes left.

With momentum swinging in favor of Hong Kong, the Australians were on the defensive for much of the half. Under pressure deep in their half, Tribe were forced into an aimless clearance kick upfield. A fortunate bounce landed in the hands of an onrushing Tribe attacker who ran 50 meters to score and extend the lead to 26-14.

Alex McQueen added a try at the final hooter for Hong Kong.

Hosts NZ Borneo Eagles went on to beat Tribe in the final.

"It was really good to play Tribe. They are a very good side with a lot of Australian sevens development players. I'm really pleased with the way we played against them," said John, who was coaching the team for the first time.

"There wasn't much between us at the end of the day and they benefited from a pretty fortunate bounce that made the difference. I was most pleased that we came back to score late and battled through to the end. I think it shows a lot of spirit."

Hong Kong easily dispatched Sri Lanka 31-0 in the quarter-finals to set up the showdown with Tribe.

The win over Sri Lanka gives Paul's men psychological advantage over their Asian rivals at next month's World Rugby Sevens Series qualifier at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. The two teams are both in Pool F of the 12-team qualifier, along with Chile and Namibia.

John said it was important for the squad to play high-intensity sevens again after being immersed on the domestic 15-a-side season, which ended recently.

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June 2017