Japan wins Borneo Sevens

(IRB.COM) Monday 3 September 2012  
 Japan wins Borneo Sevens
Japan edged Hong Kong 33-22 in the Borneo final

Japan's men's Sevens team successfully defended its Borneo Sevens title, coming through a gripping final to beat rivals Hong Kong 33-22 at the Likas Stadium in Sabah.

The Borneo Sevens was the first of four rounds in this year’s HSBC Asian Sevens Series, with the fourth in Singapore in November doubling as Asia's qualifer for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013.

The rankings after the Mumbai Sevens will be used to determine seedings for Singapore, where three spots are available for Asian teams at next year’s World Cup in Moscow, making the entire Series a fascinating form guide.

Although trailing 12-17 at the end of the first half, Japan bounced back with four tries after the break under new coach Tomohiro Segawa.

“I asked the players to keep two things in mind - get possession of the ball from the kick-off and don’t concede any penalties. We have a new squad for this year’s HSBC Asian Sevens Series and I am very pleased with the performance of the players and that we were able to defend the title," said Segawa.

“We played hard for 20 minutes and, although the Hong Kong team is very experienced, I was confident that we could win if we kept possession of the ball and kept on the attack.”

China beat South Korea to third place with a 19-14 win, while Chinese Taipei won the Plate after beating the Philippines 31-12, the Volcanoes in a rebuilding phase under new coach Al Caravelli, who was formerly in charge of USA.

In the Bowl final hosts Malaysia were pipped by Sri Lanka, who also have a well-known new coach in former England captain Ben Gollings. Sevens Rugby's all time leading points-scorer is taking his first steps in international Sevens coaching with Sri Lanka.

HSBC Asian Sevens Series - standings after one event
1 Japan 16
2 Hong Kong  15
3 China 14
4 Korea  13
5 Chinese Taipei 12
6 Philippines 11
7 Kazakhstan  10
8 UAE 9
9 Sri Lanka 8
10 Malaysia  7
11 Thailand 6
12 Singapore 5