Asian Sevens Series culminates in Mumbai

(IRB.COM) Friday 12 October 2012  
 Asian Sevens Series culminates in Mumbai

Defending HSBC Asian Sevens Series champions Japan and last year’s number two-ranked side Hong Kong are on a collision course for the HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2012 title this weekend in Mumbai.  

The Mumbai Sevens is the final ranking event on this year’s HSBC Asian Sevens Series and the penultimate event overall with the Asian qualifiers for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow being held as part of the Series next month at the Singapore Cricket Club Sevens.  

The highest ranked team between Hong Kong and Japan at the completion of the Mumbai Sevens will win the Series and qualify for the 2013 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. The remainder of the overall rankings will determine the seedings for the Asian qualifier for next year's RWC Sevens in the Russian capital.

Currently Hong Kong has 31 points from Borneo and Shanghai, whilst Japan has 16, but will be awarded an average of their points total from Borneo and Mumbai having missed the Shanghai Sevens.

“Mumbai is pressure for us but it is nice pressure to have," said Hong Kong coach Dai Rees.

"It is important for us to maintain perspective. Our priority is still a top two finish on the Series for a good seeding in Singapore and the best chance to qualify for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013.

"That remains our priority, but it is extra incentive with the winner take all element this weekend. Playing in the top 16 teams at our home event, the Hong Kong Sevens, is an exciting carrot for the players and that incentive is important to keep the team sharp.”

Japan enters the tournament after missing out on the Shanghai Sevens, thus missing a vital competition opportunity.  Japan now enter the key event of the Series with one less tournament than its opponents.

“It was unfortunate that we were not able to play in Shanghai and this could be a problem for us as most of the top teams have come through Shanghai with momentum," added new Japan coach Tomohiro Segawa.

"But we have had an intensive training camp at the National Sports Centre in Tokyo and we are ready for what we expect will be a very tough competition.”

“It is very important for Japan to defend our HSBC Asian Sevens Series title. The Series winner will have the opportunity to play against the World Sevens Series teams next year in Hong Kong and to compete in the qualification tournament for promotion to a full-time role on the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World at the London Sevens in June. This is our goal for Sevens in Japan to be the first Asian team to qualify for the Sevens World Series.”

The top three teams on the Asian Series table after Mumbai will all earn invites to the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens next March, with the second and third teams overall being routed into a pre-qualifier competition for spots at the final qualification event in London.