Asian 4 Nations: Hong Kong stun Japan

Hong Kong's first test match was against Japan in 1998. Nine times they had met before yesterday, and nine times the result had been the same - a win for Japan, sometimes by a huge score (such as last year, when the result was 82-0 in Japan's favour). In half the matches played Hong Kong had failed to register a single point. But all that changed yerterday (19th May 2014)

Published by John Birch, May 24th, 2014

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Asian 4 Nations: Hong Kong stun Japan

A last-gasp penalty from fly-half Lai Pou Fan helped Hong Kong pull off a thrilling 15-14 victory over Japan in the Asian Women's Rugby Championship at Aberdeen Stadium, Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Lai, who had earlier missed converting a second-half try from fullback Aggie Poon Pak Yan that would have leveled scores at 14-14, more than made up for that miss as she coolly slotted over the winning penalty with the final kick of the match to give the hosts a scrappy yet welcome victory in the four-team tournament. Top seeds Kazakhstan remained unbeaten after hammering Singapore 68-0 in the first match of the day.

"I thought we played better in our first game against Kazakhstan than we did today, but for long periods of the game we stuck to our game plan and got rewards from that," said Hong Kong coach Chris Garvey.

"I think if we had been a little more patient at times and had a little more trust in our game, then the result may have even been a little less nervy for our management and the fans today. But credit to our girls, in previous games and years, they have crumbled. But today they showed a little more guts and fight, and a whole lot of spirit," Garvey added.

Hong Kong opened the scoring when inside centre Rose Fong beat her opposite number with a barnstorming run to score in the fifth minute. Lau converted and Hong Kong led 7-0.

Japan came back strongly through impressive No.8 Mami Okada who had scored a hat-trick against Singapore earlier in the tournament. Okada powered her way over for a try from close range from the back of a maul as Japan hit back and went into halftime with the scores level on 7-7.

Japanese centre Ayako Tanaka competed a fine piece of driving play by the pack to score a try and give her team the lead for the first time in the match with winger Ai Tasaka adding her second conversion to make the score 14-7.

But Hong Kong, who had lost narrowly to Kazakhstan in their opening match 13-10, never gave up, and it was left to the dangerous Aggie Poon to round off a breathtaking move by the backs after the forwards had punched it up from a lineout to narrow the gap to 14-12. Lau's last-minute heroics then earned Hong Kong a deserving win.

"Too many mistakes cost us the match," said disappointed Japan coach Goshi Arimizu. "We played well but made too many mistakes and Hong Kong did better in the second half. Their scrum put us under pressure.

"We now must look to Kazakhstan and try and finish off well. They beat us last time we played, so this time we play to avenge that loss," Arimizu added.

As a result three teams remain in contention for the Asian championship when the final games are played on Saturday. Kazakhstan remain favourities, but if they were to lose to Japan then a large win for Hong Kong against Singapore could be enough to give them the title.

  • In the first match of the day, Kazakstan were far too strong for Singapore, running in with 11 players getting onto the score sheet in their 82-0 win. The Kazakhs could have scored over 100, but only four of the twelves tries were converted,

P W D L BP Pts
Kazakhstan 2 2 0 0 1 9
Japan 2 1 0 1 2 6
Hong Kong 2 1 0 1 1 5
Singapore 2 0 0 2 0 0


Hong Kong v Japan

Hong Kong: 

Elizabeth Iafeta; Fan Lai Pou; Sze Wa Lau; Rose Fong; Ting Cheng Tsz; Ka Man Nam; Aggie Poon Pak Yan; Emmy Chan Hoi Ping; Nga Wun Lau; Royce Chan Leong Sze; Tsz Yung Ching; Elizabeth Schroder; Hoi Lam Ho; Ka Shun Lee; Allison Lee; Suet Ying Ng; Amelie Seure; Christy Cheng Ka Chi; Christine Gordon; Wai Sum Sham

Scores: Fan Lai Pou (1T); Aggie Poon Pak Yan (1T); Rose Fong (1P)

Japan: Sayaka Yamamoto; Akari Kato; Mizuki Homma; Mizuho Ito; Ayako Tanaka; Ai Tasaka; Emi Ito; Azusa Yama; Ayago Kosuge; Rina Kato; Saori Yamamoto; Seina Saito; Akari Hayashi; Moemi Goto; Yui Higuchi; Mio Suzuki; Maki Ito; Ayumi Inui; Yuka Igarashi; Mizuho Kataoka; Arisa Sakamoto; Mami Okada; Masako Koiso

Scores: Mami Okada (1T); Ayako Tanaka (1T); Ai Tasaka (2C)

Kazakhstan v Singapore

Kazakhstan: Yelena Muradova; Svetlana Kluychnikova; Veronika Stepanyuga; Kundyzay Baktybayeva; Anna Yakovleva; Oxana Shadrina; Algerim Daurembayeva; Symbat Zhamankulova; Vera Vassilyeva; Olga Sazonova; Liliya Bazyaruk; Natalya Kamendrovskya; Nigora Nurmatova; Karina Proskurina; Aigul Dairbayeva; Olga Bakhtiguzina; Svetlana Karatygina; Yelena Kiryushina; Yelena Yevdokimova; Marianna Balashova; Anastassiya Khamova; Amina Baratova

Scores: Marianna Balashova (2t); Svetlana Karatygina (2t); Algerim Daurembayeva (4c); Liliya Bazyaruk (1t); Yelena Yevdokimova (1t); Kundyzay Baktybayeva (1t); Anna Yakovleva (1t); Oxana Shadrina (1t); Olga Bakhtiguzina (1t); Anastassiya Khamova (1t); Veronika Stepanyuga (1t)

Singapore: Shu En Charis Lim; Yilin Wong; Xin Yi Goh; Jia Yu Chan; Ming Li Samantha Teo; Radika Palani Samy; Christabelle Lim Mee; Yuning Vanessa Chang; Si Ying Chang; Mei Giet Koh; Ying Xie; Chiew Hong Sim; Lee Lian Lim; Ti Tauasosi; Joanne Bala Archana; Li Ying Jacqueline Sng; Yi Tian Lee; Gloria Yan Sharp Myers; Nadiah Binte Ahmad Fittri; Sophie Ngin Gollifer; Xue Ni Woo; Lu En Esther Phua