Hong Kong's Sevens performance could catch government attention

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James Mortimer     27 Mar 2013     Getty Images

Enroute the men from Hong Kong, coached by Dai Rees, defeated Argentina 7-5 and then United States 20-12 - the latter nearly by the same margin that the All Blacks Sevens defeated the Americans.

While Hong Kong will be pushing hard to become one of the International Rugby Board's 'core teams' in the coming years, their immediate goal will to get a massive funding boost from the Hong Kong Government's Sport's Commission - who decide which codes are included in the lucrative Elite Training Academy.

It is believed that if Hong Kong Sevens are successful, they will recieve approximately four to five Hong Kong million (617K to 772K NZD) annually, and Hong Kong and Chinese Television noted the presence of Secretary for Home Affair's Tsang Tak-sing in the stands over the weekend, who is chairman of the all powerful Sport's Commision and one of the 21 individuals who will could create cause for celebrations in the Hong Kong Rugby Union's corridors of power.

Rees said to the South China Morning Post the performance of the side should hold them in good stead.

"Hong Kong surpassed all expectations," he said.

"I hope the people in the box who have the fate of our sport in their hands would have sat up and taken notice."

With the funding to come through from 2013 to 2017, Rees said it was now a case of waiting.

"It is a waiting game right now and we are hopeful a decision can be made soon. April 1, when the new funding cycle at the Sports Institute commences, is just a few days away," Rees said.

"The way Cado Lee, Kwok Ka-chun, Rowan Varty (Hong Kong's captain) and Salom Yiu Kam-shing played was tremendous. While Rowan has been around for a long time, it has taken at least two years to bring on the likes of Cado and my task will be made easier if we have the backing of the Sports Institute.

"Our performance will have raised eyebrows outside Hong Kong. We are now the only team from Asia who will be bidding to become a core team. And we are doing this with a small player base. If we get into the Sports Institute, we can build on this success."