Japan sevens teams unbeaten on 1st day of Olympic qualifiers

HONG KONG (Nov. 7) – Japan’s sevens team put themselves in the driving seat for qualification for the Rio Olympics on Saturday as they both ended the day unbeaten at Hong Kong Stadium.

The Asia Rugby Sevens Qualifier 2015 is a one-off tournament for the men and a two-legged competition for the women, and Japan got off to the ideal start.

The men were dominant throughout the day, scoring their first try just 15 seconds into a 38-0 win over Chinese Taipei.

They followed that up with a 66-0 thrashing of Singapore before upping the intensity to beat South Korea 47-0.

The Koreans had, along with Hong Kong, been expected to be one of the teams to challenge Japan, but Tomohiro Segawa’s team never let up, scoring seven tries and once again preventing their opponents from scoring.

The Sakura Sevens started slowly, just getting past Kazakhstan 7-5.

But the longer the day drew on the better they got.

Keiko Asamai’s team crossed the whitewash eight times in a 48-0 win over Sri Lanka, before they stopped Hong Kong in their tracks winning 36-0.

“It’s been a good team effort from both sides,” said Kensuke Iwabuchi, general manager of the Japan national teams. “The key will be consistency tomorrow and I believe both teams can be.”

Japan’s women’s team play Guam and China on Sunday  before the top two sides take on each other in the final.

Japan’s men play China in Pool A and then two games in the knockout stage to determine the final standings and the automatic ticket to Rio.