Scotland 7s welcomed some very special guests to today’s training session at Kings Park Sports Ground in Kowloon as the countdown continued for Friday’s opening pool match in the glittering Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong 7s.
The team were met by Scottish Government Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, on her first visit to Hong Kong; Scotland internationalist and Glasgow Warriors centre, Graeme Morrison; Jonathan McKinley, Deputy Secretary of HKSARG Home Affairs Bureau; Trevor Gregory, Chairman for the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) and Scottish Rugby’s head of player development, Stephen Gemmell, as well as pupils from Chun Tok School, Lutheran School for the Deaf and Shatin College.
The visit was a continuation of the fruitful partnership between Hong Kong and Scotland established in the Hong Kong-Scotland Relationship Project signed by the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Hong Kong Secretary for Home Affairs, Tsang Tak-sing, in December 2011.
Shona Robison said: “Scotland has a warm and cordial relationship with Hong Kong, developed over many decades, and strengthened further last year when we welcomed Chief Executive Donald Tsang to Edinburgh to discuss how we can work together even more closely. That visit was then followed up by the First Minister in December when he was welcomed by Mr Tsang in Hong Kong.
“As part of our agreement with Hong Kong we are developing greater co-operation in the sporting world to further cement the ties that bind Scotland and Hong Kong together.
“Sport is a power for enormous good among young people, and the First Minister announced last year that Scotland’s successful CashBack for Communities Programme and Hong Kong's Operation Breakthrough initiative will work together, sharing experience and learning valuable lessons as they seek to lower youth offending and promote healthy lifestyles.
“Rugby is a huge part of the programme and I am delighted to be in Hong Kong as the Scotland team bids for glory in the Hong Kong Sevens. This will serve as an important opportunity to look for new opportunities to build connections and ways of sharing Hong Kong’s experience and expertise for the benefit of Scottish athletes.”
The HKRFU and Scottish Rugby have pledged to work together to share best practice on engaging youth through rugby. As such, HKRFU has adopted a system modelled on the Positive Coaching Scotland (PCS) scheme. In the Scottish model, Scottish Rugby has partnered with the Winning Scotland Foundation and the Bill McLaren Foundation to introduce PCS with the aim to develop young people through rugby and to build and sustain a strong and positive culture through working with rugby leaders, coaches and parents.
The HKRFU with the support of the Government Home Affairs Bureau will launch a similar programme in season 2012/13. To this end, the Home Affairs Bureau has provided the support to enable additional members of the Scotland Sevens team to visit Hong Kong this week and lay the groundwork for the intended launch of the programme in the weeks to come.
The HKRFU and Scottish Rugby also agreed to invite Hong Kong-born, Scotland international rugby player Graeme Morrison to become the first Scotland/Hong Kong programme ambassador to act as a role model for youngsters in both countries.
Morrison said: “It’s really good to be asked to be an ambassador for these two countries. I was born and brought up in Hong Kong, so it’s great to come back and establish a link between Hong Kong Rugby and Scotland.
“There is a strong Scottish influence in Hong Kong and with the formation of Hong Kong Scottish I think this link is a good thing for the game.
“Hopefully the weather will stay nice for the boys playing in the sevens and I hope they do really well at the weekend.”
Watch the full interview with Graeme...
The minister will be in Hong Kong for five days attending a series of meetings with sporting organisations to foster deeper connections and collaboration to benefit the wider community in Scotland and Hong Kong.
During this time she will be backing the Scotland team in the Hong Kong Sevens and taking part in the Sport Relief Mile.
Other parts of the Minister’s programme, which ends on Saturday March 24, include:
Scotland are hosting the penultimate leg of the circuit at The Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s, which will take place at Scotstoun Stadium for the first time on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 May.
Tickets for the tournament are on sale now from £15 per day. All concessions are at half the equivalent adult price.
Tickets will be sold for particular stands and designated days, with two-day ‘weekend’ tickets also available. Buy your tickets now.
For more information on the tournament and for the latest news on Scotland 7s visit www.glasgow7s.com and follow us on Twitter @Glasgow7s.
The Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s is part of the HSBC Sevens World Series. The event, led by Scottish Rugby, is a partnership with Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and Event Scotland with the assistance of sportscotland and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau:
Scottish Rugby works in partnership with sportscotland, the national agency for sport. In 2011, sportscotland invested a total of £156,000 of National Lottery funding into Scottish Rugby’s 7s programme. sportscotland also supports Scottish Rugby 7s by providing high performance expertise through its institute network.