Dublin – Ireland, Oct 07, 2012: Fiji, China and Japan have booked their places at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 after safely negotiating the Asian Women’s Sevens Championship to leave only one place remaining at the showpiece in Moscow from 28-30 June.
That will be filled by the winner of the South American qualifier, which takes place in Rio de Janeiro in February; a place Brazil will be favorites to claim on home soil given their dominance of Women’s Rugby in the region.
Fiji were crowned champions, the South Sea Islanders proving simply too strong for the Asian teams after earning their place in this qualifier by finishing as the best team behind New Zealand and Australia at the Oceania Women’s Sevens in August.
An impressive team performance saw Fiji beat China 15-0 in the final with Asinate Ufia Savu opening the scoring before tries by Rusila Nagasau and Lavenia Tinai made certain of victory at the Shivchatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India.
“We are very happy to win and qualify for RWC Sevens,” said Fiji’s youngest player, teenager Timaima Ravisa. “This is very important for women’s rugby in Fiji. We are good in rugby and we are looking forward to the Olympic Games and aim to win a medal for Fiji.”
Both sides were already guaranteed their place in Moscow by reaching the final, but China Captain Liu Yan was nonetheless disappointed not to have qualified as champions.
“I am very happy and joyous that we have qualified for RWC Sevens and am very excited for next year, but also disappointed we did not win the final against Fiji,” she said.
“RWC Sevens will give a focus to rugby in China. The players played with pride and are proud to play for China.”
“We are also looking forward to the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series coming to China and having all the big teams come the play in China will be great. It will help Chinese people learn about rugby.”
The last place on offer at RWC Sevens from the Asian qualifier proved a battle between Japan and Kazakhstan with the sides locked at 7-7 at half-time in the third place play-off.
Japan, though, emerged the 17-7 winners after tries from Yume Okuroda and Yoko Suzuki and can now look forward to their second appearance on the RWC Sevens stage.
“We are not happy with the result because we aimed to be number one, but we are relieved to have qualified for the RWC Sevens,” admitted Japan captain Chiharu Nakamura.
“Women’s Rugby in Japan is at a development stage. This will open access and popularity for more girls to start playing.”
“This gets us on the world stage. We want to be number one in world rugby. This is one step towards the Olympic Games. To get a gold medal at the Olympic Games is our main goal.” —- IRB