Jessica Ho playing at Twickenham in BUCS Championship Final 2013
Jessica Ho makes debut for Hong Kong Women's Rugby
Jessica, who plays scrum-half came back from injury to make the starting squad for the match against Fiji. The Hong Kong side needed a win in order to secure qualification for the Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland.
Jessica grew up in Hong Kong where she was part of the national junior rugby programme and in 2011 arrived at Exeter to study for a degree in Sports Science. Ho admits that the rugby programme at Exeter had not been a factor in her decision to study here but it had a significant and positive impact on her development as a player.
"Before coming to the University I'd played a lot of rugby but not much 15's and Exeter gave me the most incredible opportunity to develop both academically and as a rugby player." Jessica goes on to praise Jo Yapp, Head Coach of Women's Rugby at Exeter and former England International citing her as "a significant driving force in my development who pretty much taught me everything I know about playing scrum-half.
In 2013 Jessica was a member of the University side who won gold at the BUCS Championship at Twickenham and in her final year captained the University side that beat Loughborough to win gold in the BUCS 7's National Championship.
Jessica attributes her success during this time not only to the quality of coaching but also the athlete support from the Strength & Conditioning Team and Physiotherapy Services. "For that," she says "I will forever bleed green"
Jo Yapp, on hearing news of Jess's selection and success said, "I would like to say a massive congratulations to Jess on her achievements. Jess was always an extremely committed member of EUWRFC and led by example in everything she did. I am so pleased she has been rewarded by having the opportunity to represent her country - it is thoroughly deserved.
Yapp went on to say, "Since 2013, Women's rugby at the University has gone from strength to strength, we have doubled numbers and now field two BUCS teams each week with a development team playing in a league of their own. Not only do the University support the girls fantastically well but the girls themselves have worked really hard to recruit new players and build the squad year on year, creating a great club culture."
A convincing 45-7 win over Fiji ensured that Hong Kong qualified for the World Cup, placing them in a Pool with New Zealand, Canada and Wales.
This is the first time a team from Hong Kong has played at this level - in either the men's or women's rugby. Dublin and Belfast are both host cities with the first Pool games kicking off on the 9th August with Hong Kong facing Canada in Dublin.
Date: 16 January 2017