Friendship played a large role in the Hong Kong girls’ rugby victory in Dubai last weekend, according to the team’s coach Sam Feausi and captain Maelle Picut. “The team’s success is down to being a tight-knit group on and off the pitch,” Feausi told Young Post. “All the other coaches and I were impressed with their teamwork and friendship. They all know each other very well – that’s what gave them the edge.”
Maelle added that having a connection with teammates off the pitch helped the players understand each other. “It made it easier to trust and communicate: two important traits of a successful team. It also made it easy to give critical feedback and build a comfortable team atmosphere,” she said.
Hong Kong won the first-ever Asia Rugby U18 Girls Sevens Championship, beating Kazakhstan 12-5 in a tense final on Sunday.
The competition was part of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament, and was held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city on the same weekend.
Hong Kong beat UAE 59-0, and Sri Lanka 22-0, on day one, before seizing a 5-0 win over India, who were also undefeated on the first day. A 45-0 win over Uzbekistan in the final game of the round-robin competition sent Hong Kong through to the final.
The 12-strong squad were certainly capable of winning after an undefeated six-game streak, but this didn’t make them underestimate formidable Kazakhstan in the final.
“Kazakhstan were improving game by game in the tournament, but so were we. They were much stronger come the final but I think we wanted it a bit more at the end of the day,” said Feausi.
Maelle added: “Ever since our first game against Kazakstan, we knew that they played a physical and aggressive game. We also found out we had faster wingers, which played to our advantage. Most of our tries came through drawing in as many defenders as possible, which gave space to the speedsters who finished off the job nicely.”
After eight weeks’ training, the girls celebrated their landmark victory with a visit to the
Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai.
The squad will now train for 15-a-side rugby in preparation for an age grade tour in January. The sevens squad will head to the Sanix schools tournament, to be held in Japan next spring.
Feausi added that the win had inspired younger players to make it to next year’s tournament.
“The victory not only showcases the game, but has put a spotlight on girls’ rugby. It will have a positive impact by showing that Hong Kong’s team can compete in Asia, and that women’s sports tournaments aren’t secondary to men’s,” he said.