Unbeaten Japan and host nation Ireland will compete in the 2015/16 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series after finishing top of the pile at the end of two thrilling days of the Women’s Sevens Dublin tournament.
12 teams gave it their all in pursuit of the two qualifying places at the rain-hit UCD Bowl. In the end, Cup champions Japan ensured a World Series berth for the first time ever along with runners-up Ireland, who made their WSWS debut in 2013/14.
With the steady beat of the taiko drummers and chants of ‘Nippon, Nippon’ from their supporters, Japan felt right at home in Dublin and it showed in their performances as they racked up six wins on the trot, topping a pool that included Olympic hosts Brazil and prevailing in tight games against Wales (twice), the Netherlands and Ireland.
Japan’s Marie Yamaguchi is confident that they can go on to make their mark on the World Series circuit, saying: “We definitely can compete against Australia, New Zealand or high quality teams so we are so excited. We have had lots of camps and team building so we trust each other and we are ‘one team’ so that is why we can qualify.
“We have to thank our fans, when we’re playing we can hear the yelling so that is why we have lots of power so that we could do well, I think.
“We have a chance to play against lots of nationalities now so that means for Japanese rugby we can have a purpose for the future so that’s very important for us. We proved we can play against overseas teams, so that means for Japan we have a future and that is a great thing.”
Yamaguchi and her team-mates showed impressive battling qualities to overhaul Ireland in an epic Cup decider. They came from 12 points to win with a last-gasp penalty from Yume Okuroda.
Despite missing out on silverware in heartbreaking fashion, Ireland achieved their ‘ultimate goal’ of returning to the World Series, a Lucy Mulhall-inspired 26-14 semi-final victory over South Africa being their standout result in front of the excited home fans.
The Springbok Women recovered from their only loss to take third place overall, while Brazil secured the Plate title with a 17-0 win over Hong Kong, and Linet Arasa’s length-of-the-pitch try guided Kenya to a 5-0 Bowl final triumph against Colombia.
For a full recap of the Women’s Sevens Dublin tournament, visit our Live Blog which has match results/scorers, reaction, pics of all 12 competing teams and the fans, and tweets from those watching at UCD and on our live stream around the world.
The pool stages of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup will be hosted at UCD. Visit https://www.irishrugby.ie/wrwc17 for information on the 2017 tournament and to subscribe to our newsletter.
WOMEN’S SEVENS DUBLIN – FINAL POSITIONS:
1: Japan – Cup champions & qualified for World Series
2: Ireland – Cup runners-ups & qualified for World Series
3: South Africa
5: Brazil – Plate champions
6: Hong Kong
9: Kenya – Bowl champions
WOMEN’S SEVENS DUBLIN – FULL RESULTS:
Brazil 10 Japan 19
Wales 33 Samoa 12
Wales 14 Japan 17
Brazil 42 Samoa 5
Japan 33 Samoa 0
Brazil 0 Wales 17
China 29 Kenya 7
Netherlands 33 Colombia 0
Netherlands 22 Kenya 7
China 26 Colombia 0
Kenya 12 Colombia 7
China 10 Netherlands 22
South Africa 31 Hong Kong 5
Ireland 64 Mexico 0
Ireland 50 Hong Kong 0
South Africa 38 Mexico 0
Hong Kong 48 Mexico 0
South Africa 17 Ireland 5
Cup Quarter-Final: South Africa 21 Hong Kong 5
Cup Quarter-Final: Ireland 27 China 5
Cup Quarter-Final: Japan 17 Wales 5
Cup Quarter-Final: Netherlands 12 Brazil 10
Kenya 31 Mexico 0
Colombia 12 Samoa 5
Plate Semi-Final: Hong Kong 14 China 10
Plate Semi-Final: Wales 5 Brazil 10
Cup Semi-Final: South Africa 14 Ireland 26
Cup Semi-Final: Japan 10 Netherlands 5
11th/12th Place Play-Off: Mexico 0 Samoa 22
Bowl Final: Kenya 5 Colombia 0
7th/8th Place Play-Off: China 5 Wales 29
Plate Final: Hong Kong 0 Brazil 17
3rd/4th Place Play-Off: South Africa 12 Netherlands 0
Cup Final: Ireland 12 Japan 13