Sakura Sevens Clinch Win and Core Status

The Sakura Sevens beat South Africa in the final of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong on Friday with the win according the Japanese women’s side core status for next season on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2017-18.

On the opening day on Thursday, 6 April 2017, in their Pool A clashes, Sakura Sevens beat Jamaica 54-0, the Netherlands 22-5 and China 21-14.

In the knockout stages on Friday, 7 April 2017, the Sakura Sevens accounted for China 28-14 in the quarterfinals. This then put the Japanese women’s side up against Italy in their semi-final. The Sakura Sevens ran in five unanswered tries against the Italians to run out convincing 31-0 winners with Honoka Tsutsumi scoring a brace with Chiharu Nakamura, Noriko Taniguchi and Mayu Shimizu the other try scorers. In the final against South Africa, the Sakura Sevens made a slow start conceding an early 10-0 lead. However, Chisato Yokoo started the fightback with a try late in the first half. The Japanese then dominated the latter half with tries to Ano Kuwai, Tsutsumi and Shimizu taking the Sakura Sevens to a spirited 22-10 win.

The win gives Sakura Sevens core status in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2017-18.

After the win, head coach Hitoshi Inada said, “We prepared to run flat out in our six games over the two days and that is how things turned out. We proved that we deserve to play against the best teams in the world and now we have our sights on the Tokyo Olympics.”

Captain Mio Yamanaka said, “We prepared and trained really hard for this tournament and it paid off in the second half of the final. We now are ready to take on the best in Kitakyushu in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.”