Sri Lanka is the last stop on the Asia Rugby Sevens Series in the men’s and women’s events and the final opportunity for the region’s top sides to claim their place at RWC Sevens 2018.
The top two from each series will win a ticket to next year’s tournament in San Francisco, and Japan are in pole position to be represented in both competitions.
The Japanese men, ever-presents on the Rugby World Cup Sevens stage since the tournament began in 1993, lead the eight-strong field after winning the opening leg of the Asia Series in Hong Kong, followed by a runners-up finish behind Korea in round two,
Korea have not made it to a RWC Sevens men’s tournament since 2005 but, as the second-ranked team behind Japan, their destiny is now in their own hands.
Third-placed Hong Kong head to Colombo in need a strong performance, and for other results to go their way, to qualify for their seventh straight RWC Sevens tournament.
"The bottom line is that if we do really well and win the tournament we will be okay, if we meet Korea along the way that will help us provided we get a positive result from it"
“If we don’t play Korea and don’t win the tournament, then we need to finish two places above them,” said Hong Kong coach Paul John.
“We need to play Korea at some point, whoever wins that game will be ahead in the head to head. The bottom line is that if we do really well and win the tournament we will be okay, if we meet Korea along the way that will help us provided we get a positive result from it.
“The boys have trained well this week so hopefully we can take that into the competition now,” John added.
Hong Kong face Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines in pool play, with Korea up against hosts Sri Lanka, China and Chinese Taipei on the other side of the draw.
“It means that we get a really good game on day one [against Japan] and depending on what happens at the end of day one is where we cross over,” continued John.
“It all depends on how the tournament goes and with sevens you can never really predict it so every game is a massive game for us now to put us in a good position for day two.
“Sri Lanka will be stronger being at home and China gave us a difficult game at the end of the tournament last time.”
In the women’s series, the Sakura Sevens are in pole position too, after winning the only tournament to date, also in Incheon last month. Beaten finalists China are second with Kazakhstan and Hong Kong hoping to take advantage of any slip-ups in third and fourth.
Pool matches against Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Korea await Japan, while China, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Singapore will do battle in the other side of the draw.