The 41st world famous Hong Kong sevens has drawn to a close with a fantastic result by Hong Kong. For those that missed it, Hong Kong made it into the World Series Qualifier Final but narrowly lost out to its perennial nemesis Japan. Local rugby legend Rowan Varty speaks to us about juggling two careers and what we can expect next from the team!
How did you get into rugby?
My parents used to take me to the 7s ever since I was a kid and when I first saw everyone playing mini rugby I thought “hey, that’s cool!”. So I started playing at my primary school and haven’t stopped since!
How often do you train and what do your workouts consist of?
The team are all full time athletes so we train 4-5 days a week, usually 2-3 sessions a day, 1 hour each. For our gym sessions we usually do a lot of olympic lifting to build on our strength and core, and on the pitch we do a lot of high intensity rugby drills. It’s important to mimic the game as much as possible.
Have you suffered any major injuries?
Rugby is not as dangerous a sport as everyone thinks. Most injuries like muscle injuries are actually preventable. You get some bumps and bruises along the way but nothing serious really!
How many years have you participated in the 7s?
This year is my 11th year now. I competed in my first 7s when I was 19 years old.
What’s the best part about it?
Being able to play our best on home turf and hearing the crowds roar as our family and friends all cheer us on!
How many of those years were you captain?
I was captain for 2-3 years over the 2011-2013 seasons.
What other major tournaments have you represented Hong Kong in?
The Asia Rugby Championships (ARC) in Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, and the Asian Games. (Rowan is a two-time Asian Games Silver Medallist (2010, 2014) and also received a silver medal at the East Asian Games in 2009).
What’s next for the team?
We are heading to Monaco on the 18-19 June for the final rugby sevens qualification tournaments for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August.
What have been your greatest achievement(s) to date?
Winning the Shield in the 2010 7s, attending 7 World Cups.. But I’m also a solicitor at Tanner de Witt. It involves a lot of non contentious work as I can’t adhere to Court scheduling, so being able to balance both my careers has by far been the biggest challenge and most rewarding!
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had an opportunity to yet?
I would love for our team to be able to compete in the World Series. It’s the pinnacle of Rugby 7s and it would be immensely great fun. There are only 10 tournaments around the world, and only 15 teams in the world are allowed to participate. We are currently ranked 16th-17th, so it’s very close!
Any advice for young rugby players?
If rugby is your passion then I would encourage you to pursue it. In Hong Kong, the lifestyle at a professional level is much better than in other countries. Not only will you receive a high level of support but we have great coaching and fantastic facilities to utilise!
Thank you for your time Rowan. Best of luck to you and the team in the upcoming competitions!