China won promotion to the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2019 after beating South Africa in the annual world series qualifier in Hong Kong.
After two days of thrilling action, head coach Lu Zhuan’s side finished up as 31-14 winners over a strong South African outfit in the final, conceding just eight tries in six games at the 12-team tournament.
Despite going down 7-0 in the final following a try from Unathi Elis Mali, Keyi Chen scored a hat-trick to tip the game in China’s favour. Further scores from Min Yang and Wan Yu Wang secured the match.
“It feels so good,” said Chen after the final whistle. “We are so happy as we worked so hard for this.”
China will now feature as one of the 12 core teams on the world series, taking in events such as Dubai, Sydney and Paris. However, before joining the series they will contest the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco on July 20-22 as one of the 16 women’s teams in just over 100 days time, giving them vital experience on the world stage.
Elsewhere in the competition, Kenya finished third after losing out 12-7 in the semi-final against South Africa, while Belgium took fourth spot after a 22-5 loss to China in their semi.