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Twenty-years ago, a spirited group of American women – playing for Atlantis - ventured into the inaugural Hong Kong Women’s 7s where they dominated play to win the event. “Dominated” is perhaps an understatement for a squad that scored 181 points in three games to zero for the opposition.
The team was coached by the sevens expert Emil Signes who attracted seven players from the Women’s Eagles. The purpose of their participation was to draw some needed publicity to the Hong Kong women’s rugby community. The underpublicized and underfunded event drew a small field without many strong sides entering, and, additionally, no national teams were invited.
The idea to go originated with Sallie Ahlert who developed a sevens program with the Western RFU. She also played on the squad, scoring two tries.
Atlantis trounced a mixed Hong Kong squad 69-0 in the first contest. In the second round, Atlantis routed Timaru from New Zealand’s South Island. The American team were so powerful that the tournament cancelled the final against a Japanese squad, instead, forming an All-Star Combined VII. These all stars fared no better, losing 50-0.
Signes was hopeful that the inaugural tournament in Hong Kong would lead to a first ever Women’s Sevens World Cup circuit.