[ Editorial department ]
The preliminaries for the Asian Rugby Sevens team at the Paris 2024 Olympics began on November 18th at Osaka’s Yodoko Sakura Stadium, and both the men’s and women’s Japan Sevens teams qualified for the semi-finals by passing first in the pool stage. .
Japan’s men’s team, which entered Pool A, overwhelmed India 50-0 in the first match, and then defeated tough opponent South Korea 34-0 in the second match, almost guaranteeing a place in the semi-finals where the top two teams in each group advance. .
In the match against South Korea, Kippei Ishida took the lead early on with a quick break from a penalty kick, and continued to put pressure on the opponent defensively to take control and extend their lead with consecutive tries. Early in the second half, with the score at 24-0, Kerevi had a chance from Joshua’s big gain, and was supported by Takama Maruo who finished. After that, they added one try and it was an easy victory.
In the final match of Pool A, they had a tough time against the physically strong China, and were shown a yellow card in the final stages, resulting in a numerical disadvantage and a come-from-behind loss (14-21), but Japan, China, and South Korea finished with 2 wins and 1 loss. Based on goal difference, Japan finished in first place and China in second place, advancing to the semi-finals.
Japan’s men’s team will face Pool B’s 2nd place UAE (United Arab Emirates) in the semi-finals. Hong Kong finished 1st in Pool B.
In addition, the winning team for both men and women in the Asian qualifying round will qualify for the Paris Olympics, while the second and third place teams will advance to the world final qualifying round (repechage).
Japan’s women’s team played two games in Pool D, and in the first match, they scored seven tries and won 43-0 against Kazakhstan. In the second game against Thailand, the team held the ball for a long time from the kickoff, resulting in a 19-0 victory.
In the match against Thailand, Marin Kajiki took the lead through a gap in the 2nd minute of the first half, and in the 5th minute, she made a turnover in a scrum and connected the ball, allowing Maisuke Yoshino to take the lead. In the second half, trailing 14-0, Michiyo Suda and captain Yume Hirano encouraged the team with their good tackles, and in the 4th minute, Sakura Mizutani’s lineout steal led to Honoka Tsutsumi’s try, resulting in a comfortable victory. became.
The Japan women’s team will face Hong Kong in the semifinals, and if they win, they will face the winner of China x Thailand in the final and compete for a ticket to Paris.