The Hong Kong men’s sevens team was under significant pressure coming into the third and final leg of the Asia Rugby Seven Series (ARSS) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Having lost to Japan at home in the Cup final of the opening leg and then losing to eventual winners Korea in the semi-final of the second leg in Seoul, Paul John’s men knew that a cup victory would put them back in contention for a top two finish for the series and a ticket to the RWC7’s 2018 in San Francisco.
Although they were assisted by hosts Sri Lanka beating Korea in the 3rd & 4th playoff, no one could deny that Hong Kong were the team of the tournament by beating Japan, not once, but twice in very muddy and challenging conditions at the Racecourse International Rugby Ground in Colombo.
As in Hong Kong the cup final went down to the wire but it was Hong Kong this time who prevailed with an extra-time, golden point try that saw them sneak up to second spot for the Series and deny Korea an opportunity at the 7th Rugby World Cup Sevens.
Japan, who finished second in Colombo secured the overall Series trophy, a spot in San Francisco next year, a spot in the SWS Qualifier in Hong Kong next year and an invitation to the Singapore Sevens in April next year.
Asia Rugby Sevens Series 2017 #AR7s
RWC7’s 2018 in San Francisco. Qualification
All eight quarter-finalists from RWC Sevens 2013 in Moscow (New Zealand, England, Fiji, Kenya, South Africa, Wales, Australia and France) qualified automatically for the 2018 edition of the tournament as did host team USA. Under the agreed qualification process, the top four teams outside of those nine at the 2016-17 series would book their place in San Francisco, meaning that Scotland, Canada, Argentina and Samoa are now confirmed.
The remaining 11 places will be filled by teams through regional competitions from June 2017 to April 2018 as follows:
Europe (2 teams) – Qualifiers: Russia and Ireland
Asia (2 teams) – Qualifiers: Japan and Hong Kong
Africa (2 teams) – Qualifiers: Uganda and Zimbabwe
North America (1 team)
South America (2 teams)
Oceania (2 teams)