Hong Kong Name 28-Woman Squad for Rugby World Cup in Dublin, Ireland


The Hong Kong Rugby Union has named the 28-woman
squad selected to travel to Ireland next month for Hong Kong’s
first appearance at a fifteen-a-side Rugby World Cup.

Hong Kong
will depart on 4 August for Dublin, where they will contest a
challenging pool, playing 2013 runners-up Canada (7 August),
four-time champions New Zealand (13 August) and Six Nations
veterans Wales (17 August), before travelling to Belfast for the
final placing matches.

“We are going to use every woman in the squad in
Ireland, and that is a key to our larger goal and mission: to
ensure that our first World Cup appearance isn’t our last, and to
create a legacy for the game back home in Hong Kong,” said
national coach Jo Hull. “Qualification for the World Cup is
a good start, but our objectives transcend wins and losses in
terms of creating our legacy. We want to inspire more girls to
take up rugby after our appearance. We also want to change the
perception of the women’s game in Hong Kong and to show how tough
you have to be, how dedicated and how resilient you have to be –
rather than giving in or walking away when it gets tough. The
players selected are a key to crafting that legacy.”


The 28-woman squad selected to travel to Ireland next month for Hong Kong’s first appearance at a fifteen-a-side Rugby World Cup.

The selectors have compiled a squad with a healthy
mix of experience and potential, including some emerging and
National Age Grade players, as Hull looks to leverage the Rugby
World Cup as a transformative event for Hong Kong women’s rugby.

“There are not too many surprises in the final squad. We
have gone with our experience and some of our more physical
players that can withstand the challenge of a World Cup, but we
are really excited to see the number of young players who have
raised their hands during the campaign,” she added, singling out
emerging players like scrumhalf Chloe Mak, flyhalf Lee Tsz-ting,
flanker Agnes Chan and 18-year old centre Kelsie Bouttle.
“These players have really come into their own and are improving
every game. We have rewarded that potential and it is a fantastic
opportunity for them to shine. The senior
players will need to lead that culture-building in Ireland, while
the younger players are the bridge to take this spirit back to
their schools and National Age Grade teammates.”

The ever-reliable Chow Mei-nam will captain the squad in
Ireland from lock. The 29-year old physical education teacher is
relishing the opportunity ahead for both herself and her side.

“My ambition is to be a world-class lock and the World Cup
will provide a stage for me to try and achieve that. By the end of
the tournament, I want the other teams to know about Hong Kong
rugby and respect us. That’s my main goal, earning that respect on the pitch. I just want to let the world know that the Hong
Kong team is coming and trying hard to secure our spot on the
world stage,” Chow vowed.

Chow is joined by a core of
experienced campaigners, particularly in the forwards, with a
selection for former captain Royce Chan. The world cup selection
is fitting reward for Chan’s 13 years of sterling service to Hong
Kong rugby.

Amelie Seure, Christy Cheng Ka-chi and
Christine Gordon add further experience in the pack, and provide a
steady hand at the tiller alongside relative newcomers in flankers
Agnes Chan and lock Chan Ka-yan.

“We have gone with some
players that we know can get us out of trouble in a game,”
Hull said. “For a world cup you need that balance, you
have to have a team. It isn’t just about the players, the
combinations have to work, on and off the pitch, to carry the team
through those three weeks. We have also given
opportunities to some X-factor players. If they get things right,
players like Agnes [Chan], Kelsie [Bouttle] and Rosie [Rose
Hopewell-Fong] can help us break down defences. These players also
help us achieve one of our targets, which was to have a
multi-functional squad, with players that are comfortable playing
in more than one position. We are confident that we have that
strength in depth we are going to need to take on three
world-class teams in the space of two weeks.”


Rose Hopewell-Fong in action for Hong Kong

The backline is anchored by vice captain and centre Adrienne
Garvey, as well as other experienced players in fly-half/fullback
Rose Hopewell-Fong and sevens squad members Natasha Olson-Thorne (centre/wing)
and Aggie Poon Pak-yan and Colleen Tjosvold in the back three.

Emerging players among the backs include young scrumhalves
22-year old Chloe Mak, Ho-yee and 25-year old Jessica Ho Wai-on,
with professional sevens athlete Lindsay Varty adding experience
at the pivot.

21-year old ‘BB’ Lee Tsz-ting has been
included at fly-half as she looks to add to her eight caps, with
former England Academy player Hopewell-Fong (pictured) also capable of
playing at ten and anywhere along the backline.

The
youngest player on the squad is 18-year old centre Kelsie Bouttle
who only came into the training squad in May after impressing in
her first season of Premiership rugby and at National Age Grade
level.

“It’s been an eye opener for me to be involved and
a great motivator to develop my rugby. The World Cup will be an
incredible experience,” said Bouttle, who received her
first cap earlier this month. “It’s good to be
included because I am still young and hopefully have a long way to
go in my rugby, so I will be in a position to share that
experience and transfer my knowledge to other young players, as I
am still training with the U19s.”

While including several
full-time athletes from the HKRU sevens programme at the HKSI, the
majority of the squad are amateurs, who have given up significant
amounts of time throughout the campaign to train.

“These
are not professional players, but they train professionally,” said
Hull. “They are doctors, teachers, social workers and students,
and they deserve praise and respect for the commitment they have
shown.”

The world cup will bring back memories for Hull
after she served as Assistant Coach with Scotland in 2006 and
again as Performance Manager at the Scottish Rugby Union for the
2010 campaign.

“The opportunity to bring my own squad to
the world cup is a tremendous honour, especially with this group
of players. To coach a team like this at a world cup is an honour
and I feel a lot of responsibility because of it. I’m
looking forward to that buzz and excitement that surrounds a world
cup. I know from my own experience that this will be the most
amazing three weeks of their sporting lives and to be able to lead
them through that is a privilege,” said Hull.

HKRU Squad for Women’s
Rugby World Cup 2017

Forwards: CHOW Mei-nam
(captain); CHAN Ka-yan; CHAN Leong-sze, Royce; CHAN Tsz-ching,
Agnes; CHENG Ka-chi, Christy; CHEUNG Shuk-Han, Jasmine; Christine
GORDON; LAU Nga-wun, Tammy; LEE Ka-shun; PUN Wai-yan; Amelie
SEURE; SIU Wing-ni, Winnie; SO Hoi-ting, Karen; TSANG Sin-yan;
WONG Yuen-shan.

Backs: Adrienne GARVEY (vice
captain); CHONG Ka-yan; CHOR Lik-fung, Laurel; Kelsie BOUTTLE; HO
Wai-on, Jessica; Rose HOPEWELL-FONG Siu-lan; LAU Sze-wa; LEE Tsz-ting;
MAK Ho-yee, Chloe; Natasha OLSON-THORNE; POON Pak-yan, Aggie;
Colleen TJOSVOLD; Lindsay VARTY.


Rugby pictures
:

Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens
,

Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Kong Sevens
,

Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015
,

Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong
Kong
,

Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015
,

Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong
,

Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014
,

Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013
,
Pictures
of Chartis Cup 2012
and
Pictures of
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012
.

See other recent
news regarding
:

Hong Kong
,

Rugby
,

World Cup
,

Women
,

Dublin
,

Ireland
.



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