Welsh shocked by Hong Kong
March 27, 2010
Winger Nick Royle has been in fine try-scoring form for England in Hong Kong © Getty Images
England maintained their 100 percent record in the IRB Hong Kong Sevens on Saturday but Wales suffered a shock defeat to the tournament hosts.
Wales had kicked off their campaign with a laboured 12-10 victory over Japan on Friday but they came unstuck on day two, the reigning world champions going down 21-19 to Hong Kong after Keith Robertson had held his nerve superbly to convert Anthony Haynes' last-minute try. It was particularly sweet success for Hong Kong boss Dai Rees, who stepped down as Welsh coach three years ago.
"We had to dig deep and the boys came through and there is not a happier man in the stadium as a former Welsh coach who loves Hong Kong," he said.
"There is no conflict: I am a Hong Kong guy now and I am absolutely delighted we have put one over on my own country; there are no mixed feelings. It is probably one of the highlights of my rugby career. It ranks up there with one of the best, if not the best.
"We had much more intensity today. We came out and put Wales under pressure and we used the ball correctly when we had the ball in hand. We are capable of doing that we just need to be able to produce that on a week-to-week basis and hopefully we will become number one in Asia over the next year."
England, meanwhile, followed up their opening day rout of Hong Kong by beating Japan by the very same margin, 45-0, before sealing their place at the top of Pool E with a 26-5 victory over Wales.
Fylde winger Nick Royle, who struck twice against both Hong Kong and Japan, revealed afterwards that England are now quietly confident of winning the tournament outright.
"There isn't much pressure on us," he said. "We have had a couple of slip-ups in the last couple of tournaments and we are not as strong as people think we are. We had a strong finish last weekend in Adelaide (by winning the Bowl) and we are building on that now.
"We were slow out of the blocks last week, but that gave us the kick we needed and made us realise that we were not performing. Now we need to perform and get to the top level and hopefully win the tournament."
Elsewhere, Sevens World Series leaders New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji all maintained their 100 percent starts to the tournament, while Australia and South Africa also progressed from the pool stages with flawless records. USA and Kenya went through as the two best runners-up.