Hong Kong outmuscled by Japan

Japan were far too strong for Hong Kong in the first leg of the Asian Championship, reduced to a home-and-away fixture between the two teams after Kazakhstan's withdrawal.

Published by John Birch, May 7th, 2016

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Hong Kong outmuscled by Japan

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Hong Kong

It's back to the drawing board for Hong Kong women’s coach Jo Hull after her team were outmuscled and outclassed by a slick Japan outfit in the opening match of the 2016 Women’s Asia Rugby Championship on Saturday.

Hosts Hong Kong entered the game looking to play with freedom and flair but were not allowed to find their groove in a 39-3 loss at Hong Kong Football Club.

“It was a tough day at the office,” commented Hong Kong coach Jo Hull after the match Japan, adding that, “Japan came out really strong and fast and with their fitness and skills they executed better than us under pressure. In the second half we held them at nil-nil for a good thirty minutes but at the end of the day we didn’t execute under pressure and we’re disappointed with that. The breakdown area really hurt us today and we didn't keep our defensive structures in the first half. We just put ourselves under too much pressure.

Hull noted that despite the score line there was some positives to build on for the away leg: “There were some things in the second half we can build on and I’m really proud of the girls. Nothing changes there. This is the first game in what will be a very long international season for us so we just have to continue working hard.”

"This is our first game in a very long year so we’ll keep working,” Hull said. "We’ve got to go back now and we’ve got to start putting some substance behind the words that we use."

There were some positives for Hong Kong and Hull was impressed with the work of her young players, in particular Sharon Tsang Shin-yuen. The home side kept Japan scoreless for the first 30 minutes of the second half after trailing 22-3 at the break, defending resolutely.

That second half particularly we started to play some of our patterns,” said Hull. “I’m really proud of these girls, nothing changes.”

Aggie Poon Pak-yan scored Hong Kong’s three points, slotting a penalty late in the first-half, while the Sakura 15s fullback and captain Ai Tasaka impressed with a brace of tries and two conversions. Five other Japanese players crossed over in the seven-try rout – inside centre Miki Terauchi, wings Honoka Tsutsumi and Eriko Hirano, number eight Misaki Suzuki and lock Ai Hyugaji.

Hong Kong: Chow Mei-nam (c), Adrienne Garvey (vc), Natasha Olson-Thorne, Rose Fong Siu-lan, Colleen Tjosvold, Lindsay Varty, Lai Pou-fan, Melody Li Nim-yan, Karen So Hoi-ting, Amelie Seure, Chan Ka-yan, Cheng Ching-to, Christine Gordon, Claire Forster, Ku Hoi-ying, Tammy Lau Nga-wun, Lee Ka-shun, Winnie Siu Wing-ni, Ku Hoi-ying, Ho Wing-lam, Cheng Tsz-ting, Chong Ka-yan, Lau Sze-wa, Mak Ho-yee, Aggie Poon Pak-yan, Sharon Tsang Shin-yuen, Lee Tsz-ting, Nam Ka-man

Japan: 1. Mina Saito; 2. Chihiro Kobayashi; 3. Saki Minami; 4. Hyugatera Ayo; 5. Mimura assay; 6. Ayumi Inui; 7. Yui Nozomi; 8. Suzuki JitsuSaki; 9. Noda Yume乃; 10. Minoru Yamamoto; 11. Eriko Hirano; 12. Miki Terauchi; 13. Zhongshan Shione; 14. Tsutsumi Honohana; 15. Ai Tasaka ◎; 16. Sayaka Yamamoto; 17. Kataoka Mizuho; 18. Shin Ito Aoi; 19. Ayano Sakurai; 20. Yuki Ito; 21. Manami Inoue; 22. Mana Furuta; 23. Ayu Shimizu

Scores: 1m Japan 14. Tsutsumi T (5-0); 12m Japan 15. Tasaka T (10-0); 13m Japan 15. Tasaka C (12-0); 22m Japan 11. Plain T (17-0); 26m Japan 8. Suzuki T (22-0); 30m Hong Kong   PG (22-3); 71m Japan 12. Terauchi T (27-3); 77m Japan 15. Tasaka T (32-3); 77m Japan 15. Tasaka C (34-3); 80m Japan 4. Hyugatera T (39-3); ;