Japan finished their Las Vegas Sevens campaign in disappointing fashion, finishing 15th overall.
They now head to Vancouver for round six of the series, but their attention is firmly placed on the Olympic Games in 2020.
Kippei Ishida adds another for Japan as they beat Chile in Las Vegas #USA7s pic.twitter.com/MulPUij2sL
— Asia Rugby (@asiarugby) March 3, 2019
Taking place on home soil in Tokyo, they will be aiming to medal at the competition having impressively finished fourth at rugby sevens’ debut in the Games in Rio in 2016.
Captain Kameli Soejima spoke to Asia Rugby after the USA Sevens and understands what his team is trying to do.
“Las Vegas was alright,” said Soejima. “We started out strong on the first day even though we lost both games.
“On the second day we started strongly winning our last pool game but we lost to Kenya and than to Wales.
“We are hoping to improve in Vancouver of course, but I think it’s fair to say that all our preparations are now focused towards next year’s Olympics Games and as the host country we want to prove ourselves that we can improve on what we did in Rio 2016.”
But despite the focus on the Olympic Games, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is an important element within their preparation stage.
Having qualified to be a core team at last year’s Hong Kong Sevens, Soejima is aware of how important it will be to remain a core team heading into the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“As next year is the Tokyo Olympics and as we are moving towards that we cannot afford to be relegated again this year,” explained Soejima.
“So definitely there is a big emphasis on the team to play well in every tournament and get as many points as possible. After this week it’s almost half the series done so we need to stay focused and working on our results.”