Hong Kong's women battled bravely but couldn't handle Great Britain's lightning attacks as they succumbed to a third straight defeat on Saturday morning in the first Hong Kong Sevens to feature both men's and women's events over the same weekend.
The weather remained a little damp inside the Hong Kong Stadium but couldn't stifle the spirits of rugby fans and assorted revellers, many of whom arrived at the ground well before 9am.
There was palpable excitement as the match kicked off, with Hong Kong looking to go one better than their reverse on Friday against Canada, in which Agnes Tse bagged a try for the home side in a 22-5 defeat. But it wasn't to be.
Hong Kong left everything out on the pitch and in the first half co-skipper Natasha Olson-Thorne had a chance to score when she found a gap in the British defence only to be scuppered by a knock-on.
Emma Uren got the first try for Great Britain and after that it was one-way traffic. Heather Cowell scored twice, Uren bagged another and Jasmine Joyce settled matters with a brace of fine tries towards the end that took the final score to 35-0.
Afterwards, Julia Mba Oyana – at 18 the youngest player on the Hong Kong team – reflected on what holding the men's and women's tournaments for the first time could mean for women's rugby. "I'm just so grateful to be a part of this history-making," she said. "It's just really a great, surreal experience, and I can't wait to see how big this becomes in the next few years."
Asked what advice she would give young girls in Hong Kong when it comes to playing rugby, she added: "Take if from me – just go out there. You're going to make mistakes but it's OK because you're just going to go up from there."
Great Britain joined Australia, New Zealand, France, Fiji, the USA and Ireland in the next round of the competition.
Another encounter loomed between Hong Kong and Great Britain – this time in Pool B of the men's competition – as they were due to face off at around 1.30pm on Saturday. On Friday, Hong Kong's stumbled to a 21-14 defeat against France, after Great Britain narrowly saw off Uruguay 14-12.
Last updated: 2023-04-01 HKT 12:17