Japan Sevens retain top spot in Asia

(IRB.COM) Sunday 25 September 2011
 Japan Sevens retain top spot in Asia
Japan celebrate winning the Borneo Sevens title

Japan ran in eight unanswered tries against the Philippines to sweep to a 46-0 victory and clinch the Borneo Sevens title, the second and final ranking event in the 2011 HSBC Asian Sevens Series.

The victory saw Japan retain its position as the top team in Asian Sevens for a second consecutive year as a young outfit turned on the style, proving too strong for the Philippines.

“Our speed and skill was probably too good for the Philippines. But this win is just the beginning for us as we are looking ahead to the 2016 Rio Olympics already,” said Japan coach Wataru Murata.

Fielding only one player from the squad that won the gold medal at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year, Marata's side side moved quickly into top gear to stamp their class against a Philippines side playing in their first HSBC Asian Sevens Series Cup final.

“We had set a goal of reaching the last four in this tournament. We have now set a few records. We beat China for the first time and by entering the final, we have put Philippines rugby on the map,” said delighted Philippines Volcanoes coach Matt Cullen.

“Finishing second to a team like Japan is an honour. This is way beyond our expectations.”

Philippines began the day with a hard-fought 28-14 victory in the quarter finals over hosts Malaysia before pulling off an upset against China.

Despite trailing 14-7 at half time, Harry Morris' try took the match into sudden death extra time and Joseph Matthews scored the crucial try to the delight of his teammate.

Japan had overcome South Korea 36-0 and Hong Kong to book their place in the final, Daiki Yanagawa scoring the decisive try in the semi final.

Hong Kong bounced back to win the third place play-off 34-14 against China, whilst Chinese Taipei beat Malaysia 19-0 for fifth place and the UAE edged Korea 17-12 for seventh. Sri Lanka won the bowl defeating Kazakhstan 26-12, and finished ninth in the 12-team tournament.

In the first ranking event of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series Korea won a third consecutive Shanghai Sevens after beating Hong Kong in August. 

Papua New Guinea win women's title

In the second annual Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens, Papua New Guinea claimed its first title with a 24-10 win over China. 

A hat-trick from Joanna Lagona secured a first APWS title for PNG, having lost to Kazakhstan in last year's final.

Samoa, whose only defeat in the tournament was at the hands of Papua New Guinea in the semi finals, beat Hong Kong 17-5 to take the bronze medal. Singapore edged Cook Islands 7-5 to claim the Plate.

HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2011
Aug 27–28, Shanghai Sevens, Yuanshen Stadium, Shanghai, China (winner - Korea)
Sep 24 – 25, Borneo Sevens, Likas Stadium, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia (winner - Japan)
Nov 12 – 13, Thailand Sevens, Bangkok      
Nov 19 – 20, India Sevens, Goa