May 23

2016 Women’s Asia Rugby Championship

The Asia Rugby Women’s Championship (ARWC) is under way in its second year of this format. It kicked off with defending champions Japan taking on Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Football Club in the first of the series of home and away games.

It was a tough game for Hong Kong, and they came away losing 39-3 at home. The score-line suggests that the game was more one-sided than was in fact the case, though Hong Kong coach, Jo Hull, is under no illusion that her side was outclassed on the day by a Japanese team with a lightning pace: they really can move their rugby boots!

Hull will be looking very closely at what went wrong during the opening match of the 2016 Women’s Asia Rugby Championship, where Japan played with style and panache, as if in a completely different league. She will take some comfort from Hong Kong’s intent to play with flair, although they were not allowed the space or freedom to shine.

Hong Kong Outplayed

Hong Kong trailed at the break 22-3, and it was not until the final ten minutes of the match that Japan scored in the second half, which is testament to the commitment of the defence and their tenacity.

Six of the Japanese players crossed the line to score a try, with the captain, Ai Tasaka, picking up two tries and conversions to match. Hong Kong’s loan penalty points came from the boot of Aggie Poon Pak-yan late in the first half.

Positives to Build On

It will be a long year for Hong Kong, but with young players eager to impress, there are a lot of positives for Hull and her squad to take away. The back row is a strength, and they will be competitive in the contact, which should free them up to go beyond the set piece.

With a good mix of seven players in the squad, Hull believes that she has a squad to contend with that will continue to grow. Despite such a large sevens contingent, Japan has good strength in depth and so will be serious contenders for this year’s championship too.

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