Asia Rugby Sevens Series: Hong Kong fall to Japan in final of South Korea leg
A 28-21 victory helps Japan to their second title of the series, with Hong Kong coach John ruing small mistakes in Incheon
After taking gold at this summer’s Asian Games against Japan, Hong Kong have now fallen twice in a row to their arch rivals in similar fashion.
Japan beat Hong Kong 28-21 on Sunday, led by two tries each from Kameli Soejima and Naoki Motomura, in the second leg of the Asian Rugby Sevens Series, held in Incheon, South Korea.
The tournament was eerily similar to the first leg in Hong Kong, where the men’s squad went undefeated right up until the final, putting up some impressive wins in the process but ultimately failing to walk away with the top prize.
Coach Paul John said Japan and Hong Kong are so evenly matched their encounters are now coming down to small mistakes to determine the winners.
“It just came down to a couple of turnovers and them taking their opportunities,” he said. “A four try to three loss shows how close it is.
“These finals are very close now, there are some really fine margins and there is nothing between the two sides, so those little errors or mistakes are magnified at this level.”
Jamie Hood, Kane Boucat and Max Woodward had tries for Hong Kong in the losing effort. Max Denmark and Toby Fenn both had four tries over the weekend.
In their first match of the tournament, the men’s squad squeaked out a win against a surprisingly strong hosts, South Korea. Hong Kong ended up winning 15-12, led by tries from Ben Rimene, Salom Yiu Kam-shing and Fenn.
In their second match, Hong Kong beat Sri Lanka 31-14, with five different players touching down for tries – Hood, Jack Neville, Denmark, Michael Coverdale and Fenn.
On Sunday, Hong Kong rounded out their group play with massive wins over Chinese Taipei 73-0 and then China 47-0 to make the finals.
The women’s squad lost the bronze medal match on Sunday, falling 31-10 to China.
The women’s team split their games in the first day of action, crushing Sri Lanka 41-0. They got tries from six different players in the win, and Melody Li Nim-yan had two in the win.
The squad then lost to Japan 24-12, with Aggie Poon Pak-yan collecting two tries in a losing effort. They won their final pool game 15-10 against Korea, but lost to Kazakhstan 26-14 in the semis. The squad was led by Poon who finished the tournament with five tries.