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Rugby: Hong Kong maul Mexico to put World Series bid back on track

Salom Yiu was one of Hong Kong's five try scorers against Mexico. Photos: Power Sport Images for HKRFU.

Salom Yiu was one of Hong Kong’s five try scorers against Mexico. Photos: Power Sport Images for HKRFU.

March 27, 2015: Hong Kong demolished Mexico 38-5 in their second Pool E match to get their HSBC Sevens World Series qualifying campaign back on track.


Hong Kong suffered a shock 17-12 loss to Brazil in their opening match at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, but bounced back by routing Mexico to raise the stakes for the Saturday morning’s final pool match against Uruguay (10.50am).


Captain Jamie Hood had a standout performance against Mexico, scoring tries in each half and even converting twice from the sideline.


Scrumhalf Alex McQueen opened the scoring in the right-hand corner in the first minute before Hood added another try in the same area two minutes later to make it 10-0.


Winger Tom McQueen sidestepped his way through the Mexico defence to touch down under the posts in the fifth minute, with Hood converting, before Mexico responded with a try by Christian Henning to make it 17-5 at half-time.


Rowan Varty scored Hong Kong’s fourth try early in the second half, with Hood impressively converting from the left touchline. Salom Yiu, who came on for Tom McQueen at half-time, also scored in the far corner and again Hood was up to the challenge, knocking over the conversion to make it 31-5.


The captain then scored his second try of the match and added his fourth conversion of the match to round off an impressive performance that renewed confidence in the home team, according to head coach Gareth Baber.


“It’s good to see a reaction from our players. They were beating themselves up between the games because they knew they let themselves down in the first game,” said Baber, the former Wales sevens scrumhalf and coach.


“We did what we do in training. We created width across the field, which gave people opportunities to score tries, whereas against Brazil, we got slightly narrow and bullied out of the game.


“Teams grow in these tournaments and I think you saw a response there. We’ve got to keep at that level. We can’t come off that now. If we want to achieve something here this weekend, we’ve got to be at that standard.”


Hong Kong have the same points difference (28) as Uruguay – who beat Mexico (21-0) and Brazil (14-7) – so could top the pool with a victory over the South Americans.


“We’ve got a lot more work to do tomorrow morning,” Baber said. “Uruguay will be much the same as Brazil. We’ve just seen them going at each other, so we’ve got a tough game ahead.”


Baber cited Spain and Zimbabwe as the most impressive performers in the other two pools, as teams play for their places in Saturday evening’s quarter-finals.


“Spain have a put a lot of points on the board today and look pretty good. Zimbabwe are also racking up points, but you never know what’s going to happen in these pools,” Baber said.


“We don’t play a lot of these teams regularly and it’s finding out a little bit about these teams when you get into the tournament. That’s no excuse. We got the first match wrong, the second one right. We’ve got to go and get another two right tomorrow.”


South Korea, Asia’s other representative in the 12-team qualifier, lost 14-7 to Russia and 21-19 to Papua New Guinea and face Tunisia on Saturday morning in their final Pool F match.


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