COACH PAUL JOHN ANNOUNCES STAR-FILLED SQUAD FOR CHALLENGER SERIES
The 2022 Sevens Challenger Series is set to kick off in Santiago on the 12-14 August, and with the tantalising prospect of being named to the HSBC World Sevens Series top of mind, coach Paul John has enlisted some of his most reliable players to lead the campaign in Chile: “Everybody wants to be on the World Series and test themselves against the best in the world. There's a lot of experience in the boys who got picked. They're the ones who have been consistently putting their hands up during training and the competitions we’ve had recently.”
Following a three-day format, 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams will compete to achieve core status on the Series, with the Hong Kong men having to topple the likes of Germany, Chile, Korea and Georgia to achieve the coveted spot.
Max Woodward retains the reigns as captain, and after vowing earlier this year to shed the ‘nearly men’ tag that has shadowed the squad, is straightforward about Hong Kong’s hunger for the Challenger: “As long as I've been playing 7s for Hong Kong I've wanted to get on the [World Sevens] Series. It would mean a massive amount to me, and I know the rest of the squad feel the same way. We've been so close before and the yearning is there.”
“We're very excited to play a winner takes all tournament - knowing that we are one of the favourites and the chance to win is very much within our capability is a real boost.”
Fan favourites Russell Webb, Cado Lee Ka-to and Salom Yiu Kam Shing will be there to support Woodward with their leadership as well as offer up a powerful attacking skill set. Like Woodward, Webb is passionate about the squad’s prospects in Chile: “To get on the World Series means everything - that's our why, that's why we come in every morning, and we really feel like we deserve to be there. We've addressed some of our missed chances and we know the only people who can change that is us.”
Pierce Mackinlay-West, Harry Sayers and Max Denmark will bring a bit of flash into the mix, with all three delivering powerful performances during the recent tour of the UK and Portugal. Hong Kong fans will also recognise the familiar face of Alex McQueen, who brings a vast amount of experience, and according to John has been training very well.
Although Hong Kong will be without one of their top threats in Liam Herbert, who is recovering from a leg injury sustained in the Algarve Sevens, Woodward is confident there is enough talent to bridge any perceived gap: “It's a pretty special team - we are as strong and close-knit, with as much depth as I have ever seen in my career”.
Immediately after the Challenger, the squad will turn to preparing for the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens, hosted in South Africa a mere four weeks after the stint in Chile.
Pools, fixtures, and streaming information: https://www.world.rugby/tourna...
Hong Kong Men’s Sevens Squad:
Max WOODWARD ©,
LEE Ka To Cado,
YIU Kam Shing
Information and Photo Source : Hong Kong Rugby Union