Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Japan claim Asian Games gold

Japan Asian games rugby gold
Gold medallists: Japan
Japan successfully defending their crown by edging Hong Kong 28-21 in the men's Asian Games Sevens final on Tuesday.

Three days of exciting rugby at the Asian Games came to a dramatic climax with Kazakhstan beating hosts China 17-14 to claim the first ever Women's Sevens gold medal.

Kazakhstan captain Anna Yakovleva, one of 11 members in their squad to have played at Women's Rugby World Cup 2010, scored what turned out to be the winning try, albeit only after top seeds China lost the ball over the line in the dying seconds to the dismay of the vocal crowd.

The men's final at the University Town Main Stadium in Guangzhou was equally enthralling with defending champions Japan seemingly on course for a comfortable win with two Koji Wada tries giving the top seeds a 21-7 lead at half-time.

Hong Kong, though, had other ideas and bravely fought back to level the scores, only for Yasanori Nagamoto to seal victory for Japan and leave their opponents frustrated again, just as they had in the East Asian Games final last December.

The battles for the bronze medals were equally tight with Korea's men scoring after the full-time hooter to beat China 21-14 and Thailand needing extra time to defeat Hong Kong 17-12 in the women's event.

The Games highlighted the growth of Rugby in the region and the popularity of Sevens with its high octane, non-stop competitive action keeping the 80,000 fans across the three days on the edge of their seats.

"The Rugby Sevens event at the Asian Games has simply been a massive success story both on and off the field," said IRB Regional General Manager for Asia, Jarrad Gallagher.

"The women's Game has taken its place at this level alongside the men's for the first time and, although the home crowd did not get the result it wanted, the final knock-out matches provided an enthralling spectacle that will have people talking about Rugby for a very long time."

"In the men's event we saw just how competitive the landscape has now become with Hong Kong pushing powerhouse Japan all the way in the final, and all watched by upwards of 80,000 fans over the three days.
"Overall I think it has shown how quickly things are moving in Asia, and how great the potential is for the future."

With thanks to the IRB

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