Fiji, China and Japan qualify for RWC Sevens

(IRB.COM) Sunday 7 October 2012  
 
 Fiji, China and Japan qualify for RWC Sevens
Fiji celebrate their success at the Asian Women's Sevens Championship - Photo: ARFU

Fiji, China and Japan have booked their places at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 after safely negotiating the Asian Women’s Sevens Championship to leave only one place remaining at the showpiece in Moscow from 28-30 June.

That will be filled by the winner of the South American Championship, which takes place in Rio de Janeiro in February, a place Brazil will be favourites to claim on home soil given their dominance of Women’s Rugby in the region.

Fiji were crowned champions, the South Sea Islanders proving simply too strong for the Asian teams after earning their place in this qualifier by finishing as the best team behind New Zealand and Australia at the Oceania Sevens in August.

An impressive team performance saw Fiji beat China 15-0 in the final with Asinate Ufia Savu opening the score before tries by Rusila Nagasau and Lavenia Tinai made certain of victory at the Shivchatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India.

“We are very happy to win and qualify for RWC Sevens,” said Fiji’s youngest player, teenager Timaima Ravisa. “This is very important for women’s rugby in Fiji. We are good in rugby and we are looking forward to the Olympic Games and aim to win a medal for Fiji.”

Boost for Chinese rugby

Both sides were already guaranteed their place in Moscow by reaching the final, but China captain Liu Yan was nonetheless disappointed not to have qualified by winning the Asian qualifier.

“I am very happy and joyous that we have qualified for RWC Sevens and am very excited for next year, but also disappointed we did not win the final against Fiji,” she said.

“RWC Sevens will give a focus to rugby in China. The players played with pride and are proud to play for China.

“We are also looking forward to the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series coming to China and having all the big teams come the play in China will be great. It will help Chinese people learn about rugby.”

The last place on offer at RWC Sevens from the Asian qualifier proved a battle between Japan and Kazakhstan with the sides locked at 7-7 at half-time in the third place play-off.

Long-term goal

Japan, though, emerged the 17-7 winners after tries from Yume Okuroda and Yoko Suzuki and can now look forward to their second appearance on the RWC Sevens stage.

“We are not happy with the result because we aimed to be number one, but we are relieved to have qualified for the RWC Sevens,” admitted Japan captain Chiharu Nakamura.

“Women’s Rugby in Japan is at a development stage. This will open access and popularity for more girls to start playing.

“This gets us on the world stage. We want to be number one in world rugby. This is one step towards the Olympic Games. To get a gold medal at the Olympic Games is our main goal.”

Earlier in the day, the four fancied teams had all safely negotiated the Cup quarter finals with Fiji picking up where they had left off on day one by brushing aside Singapore 47-0 to set up the meeting with Japan, who had edged Thailand 12-5.

Scare for China

China then avenged last month’s loss to Hong Kong at the Asia-Pacific Women’s Sevens in Kota Kinabalu with an impressive 31-0 victory, Liu Yan scoring two first-half tries in the win. Kazakhstan were equally comfortable winners, beating Chinese Taipei 34-0.

The Chinese had reached the semi finals without conceding a single point, but they had their backs to the wall when tries from Svetlana Kluchnikova and Irina Radzevil gave Kazakhstan a 12-0 lead early in the second half.

Knowing victory would secure a place at RWC Sevens 2013, China fought back valiantly and Yang Hong’s try in the dying seconds broke Kazakh hearts and secured a 17-12 win.

The other Cup semi final was equally tight in the first half with just five points separating the teams before three second-half tries gave the score a convincing look to it of 31-7.

All eyes may have been on who would secure the three places at Moscow 2013, there was joy for other teams with the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines and Hong Kong winning the Shield, Bowl and Plate finals respectively.

Asian Women's Sevens Championship results

Day Two

Bowl QF1: India 5-0 Malaysia
Bowl QF2: Sri Lanka 20-10 United Arab Emirates
Bowl QF3: Philippines (BYE)
Bowl QF4: Iran 29-7 Korea
Cup QF1: Japan 12-5 Thailand
Cup QF2: Fiji 47-0 Singapore
Cup QF3: China 31-0 Hong Kong
Cup QF4: Kazakhstan 34-0 Chinese Taipei
Shield SF1: Malaysia 12-17 UAE
Shield SF2: Korea (BYE)
Bowl SF1: India 0-33 Sri Lanka
Bowl SF1: Philippines 24-5 Iran
Plate SF1: Thailand 17-12 Singapore
Plate SF2: Hong Kong 27-0 Chinese Taipei
Cup SF1: Japan 7-31 Fiji
Cup SF2: China 17-12 Kazakhstan
Shield Final: UAE 24-0 Korea
11th place play-off: India 12-17 Iran
Bowl Final: Sri Lanka 7-22 Philippines
Seventh place play-off: Singapore 12-5 Chinese Taipei
Plate Final: Thailand 7-19 Hong Kong
Third place play-off: Japan 17-7 Kazakhstan
Cup Final: Fiji 15-0 China

Day One

Hong Kong 36-0 India (Pool A)
Chinese Taipei 45-0Korea (Pool B)
Fiji 44-7 Sri Lanka (Pool B)
Singapore 20-0 Iran (Pool D)
Kazakhstan 31-0 UAE (Pool D)
Thailand 41-0 Malaysia (Pool C)
China 29-0 Philippines (Pool C)
Japan 44-0 India (Pool A)
Chinese Taipei 26-7 Sri Lanka (Pool B)
Fiji 50-0 Korea (Pool B)
Singapore 19-15 UAE (Pool D)
Kazakhstan 36-0 Iran (Pool D)
Thailand 31-7 Philippines (Pool C)
China 49-0 Malaysia (Pool C)
Japan 19-5 Hong Kong (Pool A)
Korea 0-43 Sri Lanka (Pool B)
Fiji 36-7 Chinese Taipei (Pool B)
Iran 10-5 UAE (Pool D)
Kazakhstan 39-0 Singapore (Pool D)
Malaysia 7-40 Philippines (Pool C)
China 41-0 Thailand (Pool C)