By Sachin David
The Borneo sevens tournament concluded with the favourites Japan beating the surprise package of the tournament Philippines with a thumping 46 points to nil margin in the final of the second tournament of the HSBC Asian Sevens series. The Japanese have finally reclaimed their spot at the top of the Asian Sevens Rankings.
The Sri Lanka Sevens team won the Bowl of the tournament toppling a powerful Kazakhstan team on Sunday with a 26-17 win in the Bowl finals. The Lankans’ win gave them a much needed boost in the Asian Rankings moving the Tuskers to ninth place.
Sri Lanka lost all of their three matches in the opening day of the Borneo Sevens tournament on Saturday but made amends for those losses on Day two. First, they went against Thailand who had beaten them in the group stages on Saturday with a score line of 34-14. The Lankans avenged that loss with a relatively comfortable 36-19 triumph in the Bowl semi finals on Sunday morning which triggered the Lankan comeback.
Sri Lanka then went against the mighty Kazakhstan where they came up with a praiseworthy performance beating the previously number four ranked team in Asia. Kazakhstan was ranked behind South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan coming into the tournament. Sri Lanka met Kazakhstan during the Shanghai Sevens tournament last month where they lost 29 points to nil. This time around the Lankans came out on top beating the Kazakhs 26-17 in the Bowl finals to clinch the bowl for the second consecutive year.
Thailand went against Brunei in the 11th and 12th place playoff with Thailand outclassing their challengers to win the game 31-3. The UAE came out with a surprise victory over tournament favourites Korea in the 7th and 8th placing match with a tight 19-17 win. Korea incidentally were the Shanghai Sevens winners where they edged past Hong Kong 22-17 just a month ago.
In the top six Competition, Malaysia went against Chinese Taipei in the Plate final clash where Taipei won by 19 points to nil beating a favoured Malaysian side who had a good outing on the first day recording a 50 nil win over Brunei. Chinese Taipei in their lead up to the plate final beat the defending Shanghai Sevens champions South Korea 22-12.
It was a much anticipated battle between two of the most impressive teams of the tournament with arch rivals Hong Kong taking on their neighbours China for the Bronze medal play-off. However, Hong Kong ran away with the game beating the Chinese by 34 points to 14. Hong Kong had lost to Japan in a close encounter in the semi’s 12-15, while China had lost to the emerging Philippines side 19-14.
This meant the mighty Japanese were to play the Philippines in the finals of the tournament. Japan went in favourites against the Philippines who were in a cup final for the first time. Japan ran in eight unanswered tries against the Philippines to sweep to a 46-0 victory and clinch the Borneo Sevens title. The victory saw Japan retain its position as the top team in Asian Sevens for a second consecutive year.
In the second annual Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens tournament which was played concurrently Papua New Guinea claimed its first title with a 24-10 win over China.