Japan claimed their second title of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series 2018, in both the men’s and women’s competitions, beating Hong Kong and Kazakhstan in their respective finals in Incheon, Korea.
After taking a maximum of 12 points from the first two events, Japan’s men hold a four-point lead over Hong Kong with one round remaining while the women have a six-point cushion over China and Kazakhstan who are tied for second.
Having played a starring role in their run to the Hong Kong title a fortnight ago, Kameli Soejima once again impressed as Japan's men went through the weekend unbeaten.
Soejima took his series tally to 10 with a brace of tries in the Cup final against Hong Kong while Naoki Motomura also crossed twice, Katsuyuki Sakai converting for a 28-19 win. Hong Kong managed three tries from Max Woodward, Jamie Hood and Kane Boucaut.
“We are definitely happy,” said Japan captain Kameli Soejima. “We know that Hong Kong would come back after two weeks ago but we just tried to settle in early and that set the pace for us.
“The game plan was to catch them off guard and let the ball do the job. We now look ahead to Colombo and need to keep improving our mistakes.”
In the semi-finals, Motomura continued his impressive tournament as he scored twice in an enthralling 33-24 win over hosts Korea before Cado Lee scored a hat-trick as Hong Kong beat China 47-0 to set up a repeat of the first round final in Hong Kong.
Elsewhere hosts Korea finished fourth in their home tournament as they lost 31-12 to China, while the Philippines came back from two scores behind to snatch a 19-17 win over the Sri Lanka Tuskers to take fifth.
In the day’s opening matches Japan beat China 26-14 to finish the pool stages with a 100 per cent record alongside Hong Kong who proved too strong for Chinese Taipei winning 73-0 including a hat-trick from Max Denmark.
SAKURA SEVENS SECURE COMEBACK WIN
In a pulsating women’s final, Japan trailed 12-0 before Iroha Nagata, Emii Takanka and an eighth try of the weekend from Honoka Tsutsumi secured a second successive victory.
As well as extending the Sakura Sevens’ lead at the top of the standings, the victory in Korea moves them closer to securing a spot at the Kitakyushu Sevens on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2019.
Having lost to Japan in their semi-final China went on to defeat Hong Kong 31-10 in the third place play-off 24-10.
Earlier in the day, Tsustumi was one of five scorers as Japan rounded out their pool campaign with a 41-0 win over Sri Lanka to maintain their 100 per cent record.
Kazakhstan beat Thailand and China on day one before completing the pool stages with an emphatic 48-0 win against Singapore, Darya Tkachyova scoring a hat-trick. Hong Kong were beaten 26-14 in the semi-finals.
Attention now turns to Sri Lanka on 13-14 October for the third and final leg of the series.