Asia quartet in contention for RWC Sevens

(IRB.COM) Friday 2 November 2012  
 Asia quartet in contention for RWC Sevens
Japan in winning action against Sri Lanka, who themselves narrowly missed out on a place in the Cup semi finals

After day one of Asian qualifying for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, four nations, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and Philippines, are through to the Cup semi finals and set to battle it out for the three places on offer in Moscow next year.

Asian Sevens champions Hong Kong and number two Japan both finished unbeaten after pool play. Hong Kong now meet Korea, while Japan will face Al Caravelli's Philippines side.

The winners of the Cup semis will be assured of their places at the World Cup, while the losers will have one final chance in the crucial play-off for third place, the winners of which will clinch the last of three tickets given to Asia.

“We are where we wanted to be,” said Hong Kong captain Rowan Varty. “We had three very convincing wins, but what matters now is to win our semi-final and make sure we are going to Moscow.”

Japan were hardly pushed all day but will have added incentive on day two as they set out to beat Hong Kong, who were recently crowned Asian champions for the first time.

“That is our aim, to beat Hong Kong. We are hurting that they are the number one team in Asia and we are determined to make a statement,” said coach Tomohiro Segawa.

“But we have to play better than we did today. We were slow at the breakdown, securing the ball and then getting it away. We need to move the ball more quickly,” said Segawa.

Japan and Hong Kong are the only two Asian teams to have qualified for every Rugby World Cup Sevens since the inaugural tournament in 1993 and, while Korea failed to qualify for the 2009 event in Dubai, they hold the distinction of being the highest ever Asian finisher at a world championship after reaching tied-fifth overall at RWC Sevens 1997 in Hong Kong.

Twenty of the 24 places have already been filled for RWC Sevens 2013. Nine teams qualified automatically, hosts Russia and the eight quarter-finalists from RWC Sevens 2009 in Dubai in champions Wales, runners up Argentina, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, South Africa, Kenya and England, as well as hosts Russia.

Eleven teams have negotiated the regional qualifying process in Portugal, Spain, France, Georgia and Scotland (Europe), Australia and Tonga (Oceania), Canada and USA (NACRA) and Zimbabwe and Tunisia (Africa).

Once the three Asian qualifiers are known, the one remaining place will be filled by the nation crowned South American champions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in February 2013.

Singapore Sevens fixtures & results

Day 1 - Friday, 2 November

09:00 - Pool A - Hong Kong 48-7 Guam
09:20 - Pool B - Korea 49-7 Singapore
09:40 - Pool C - China 26-14 Kazakhstan
10:00 - Pool D - Japan 57-0 Indonesia
11:00 - Pool A - Philippines 33-0 Guam
11:20 - Pool B - Thailand 14-22 Singapore
11:40 - Pool C - Malaysia 27-19 Kazakhstan
12:00 - Pool D - Sri Lanka 52-0 Indonesia
13:00 - Pool A - Hong Kong 29-12 Philippines
13:20 - Pool B - Korea 26-12 Thailand
13:40 - Pool C - China 22-19 Malaysia
14:00 - Pool D - Japan 35-0 Sri Lanka
15:20 - Bowl SF 1 - Guam 21-35 Thailand
15:40 - Bowl SF 2 - Kazakhstan 38-0 Indonesia
16:00 - Cup QF 1 - Hong Kong 33-0 Malaysia
16:20 - Cup QF 2 - Korea 19-12 Sri Lanka
16:40 - Cup QF 3 - China 7-14 Philippines
17:00 - Cup QF 4 - Japan 47-0 Singapore

Day 2 - Saturday, 3 November

0830 Malaysia  v  Sri Lanka (Plate Semi Final 1)
0850 China  v  Singapore (Plate Semi Final 2)
1100 Hong Kong  v  Korea (Cup Semi Final 1)
1120 Philippines  v  Japan (Cup Semi Final 2)
1140 Guam  v  Indonesia (11th / 12th play-off)
1200 Loser Gm 19  v  Loser Gm 20 (7th / 8th play-off)
1600 Thailand  v  Kazakhstan - Bowl Final (9th / 10th)
1620 Winner Gm 19  v  Winner Gm 20 - Plate Final (5th / 6th)
1640 Loser Gm 21  v  Loser Gm 22 - Bronze Medal (3rd / 4th)
1700 Winner Gm 21  v  Winner Gm 22 - Cup Final (1st / 2nd)