Japan beat Hong Kong 38-14 in the final of the
Asian Rugby Sevens Series event held this past weekend in Sabah,
Japan was the form side of the tournament from
the opening kickoff, posting 187 points while conceding just four
tries and 26 points over two tournament days and six matches.
In the Cup semifinals, Japan edged Korea
10-7 in a tight encounter that was entirely fitting for these two
Cup finalists from the Shanghai Sevens in September. This time
Japan emerged victorious despite being a man down deep into injury
Hong Kong hobbled through to the final after a
series of injuries kept much of its star power on the bench over
the two tournament days. Despite the injury woes, it was a
recovery story that dominated Hong Kongís semifinal against
On his return from a long absence rehabilitating a
shoulder injury former captain Mark Wright led from the front
against the hometown team, seemingly willing Hong Kong to victory
to the dismay of the 3,500 thousand strong crowd.
tallied two tries and set up a third in the match to help steer
Hong Kong out of trouble against a talented Malaysian that looks
to be a contender in Asian sevens in the years ahead. Hong Kong
advanced in a seesaw match over Malaysia, 22-17.
dominance extended into the final as Hong Kong started to show the
toll of its cumulative injuries with several players taking the
pitch heavily strapped. The Brave Blossoms jumped out to a 7-0
lead in the first two minutes through a long ranging try to Michio
Hong Kongís Keith Robertson, who was playing despite a
rib injury, replied in the fifth minute with an audacious up and
under, catching his own ball at the 10 metres before dragging a
defender over the line for Hong Kongís only try of the first half.
The successful conversion brought the score to 7-all.
Kongís defence almost held for the remainder of the half before a
crucial knock on by captain Jeff Wong on his own five metre line
gave an opportunity for Kenji Shomen to dive over from the ensuing
scrum, bringing the score to 12-7 at halftime.
In the second
half, Japan put paid to Hong Kongís hopes for a comeback with two
tries in the first two minutes to Usaku Kuwazuru and Atsushi
Tujiya bringing the score to 26-7. The third Japanese try came in
the fifth minute to Japanís Michio Iwa, giving him a brace for the
final, and bringing the score to 31-7. In the seventh minute,
Kensuke Iwabuchi finished Japanís scoring with a try that was
converted to bring the score to 38-7.
Hong Kong winger Salom
Yiu Kam Shing added a last bright moment for the losing finalists
with a 60m sprint that he converted himself to bring Hong Kong to
14 points. The whistle blew a moment later ending the match at
38-14 and giving Japan its first title on the new Asian Rugby
In the Bronze Medal (3rd/4th place) match, Korea
surpassed a tired Malaysian side 31-7.
Japanís win sees them
clear to the top of the Asian Rugby Sevens Series with 23 points,
one ahead of Korea and two in front of Hong Kong.
final pitted China against an unexpected Philippines team that
entered the tournament ranked 10th and was competing in just their
second Asian Rugby Sevens Series event after last weekís run in
The Philippinesí had formed a habit of unseating
favoured opponents over the weekend, ushering Chinese Taipei into
the Bowl competition on day one and beating the Thais to
reach the Plate. But the run ended in the Final as a
comprehensive display by China saw the favourites romp home 31-0.
China finished in fifth place overall in the Borneo Sevens and in
fourth spot on the Series table with 16 points.
In the Bowl
final Chinese Taipei took its revenge for a weekend of injury
setbacks and disappointing results to beat India 19-0. Chinese
Taipei finished 9th overall and will be ruing missed opportunities
after entering the tournament as fourth seed and in fourth place
on the Asian Rugby Sevens Series table. After the weekendís
results, Chinese Taipei slipped to fifth place on the table with
Another surprise package this weekend was Guam in
its debut Asian Rugby Sevens Series event. After running Korea
close in the opening day and consistently scoring against Hong
Kong throughout the weekend, Guam took its chances well to upend a
favoured Thailand 24-7 in the 7th/8th place playoff. Their
performance in Borneo was good enough to elevate Guam to sixth
place on the Series standings.
In the Bowl Semifinal Chinese
Taipei beat Indonesia 40-0 while India beat Brunei 19-10. Brunei
then beat Indonesia 26-7 to finish in 11th place with Indonesia
rounding out the 12 Asian teams in the final spot. Brunei and
Indonesia charted two and one points on the Series table
The Borneo Sevens is the last of two ranking
events on the inaugural Asian Rugby Sevens Series. The final table
rankings will be effective for the remainder of 2009 and will be
used for ARFU competitions, multi-sport games and IRB World Sevens
Series events when applicable.
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