Japan missing as Shanghai hosts Asian Sevens(IRB.COM) Friday 21 September 2012
The HSBC Asian Sevens Series gets back underway on 22-23 September when the Yuanshen Stadium hosts round two, the Shanghai Sevens.
However, two of the top sides in the region will not be competing after Series leaders Japan and Kazakhstan both announced their withdrawal due to the uncertain security situation in Shanghai.
There are four rounds in Asia's Series this year, with the fourth in Singapore in November doubling as the region's qualifer for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013.
The rankings after round three in Mumbai will be used to determine seedings for Singapore, where three spots are available for Asian teams at next year’s World Cup in Moscow.
After round one in Borneo, Japan sit top of the standings, ahead of runners-up Hong Kong, but as a result of Japan's withdrawal, Hong Kong and China top the pool seedings in Shanghai.
South Korea looking for trio of titles
Hong Kong and China may arrive in Shanghai as the form teams, but South Korea won there in both 2010 and 2011 and should again present a threat in 2012.
"We are pleased with the results from Borneo because it was the first outing on the HSBC Asian Sevens Series for many of the team. Although our target was to take third, our inexperience showed against China and the players will be better for having one tournament under their belt," said Korea coach Seo Chun-Oh.
"Our target is again to reach the Cup semis and hope that our luck in Shanghai holds for a third year. We will bring back some of our more experienced Sevens players into the squad and I expect that one third of the 12-man team will be veterans of our win in Shanghai last year.
"With the Series rankings determining the final seedings for the Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifier in Singapore, it is essential to get a good finish at every tournament. We must reach the semi-finals at a minimum so Shanghai is going to be a huge tournament for us," said Seo.
As Japan’s withdrawal is due to an issue beyond the control of the Japanese Rugby Football Union and the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU), ARFU will compensate the team for the lack of opportunity to take points from Shanghai.
Following the completion of the Mumbai Sevens (Oct 13-14), ARFU will award an aggregate of points for Japan in lieu of competing in Shanghai. The points total will take into consideration Japan’s final standings in Borneo and Mumbai to award Japan HSBC A7s series points for Shanghai. Kazakhstan will receive no points from Shanghai.
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