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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Japan Join Ireland In Women’s Rugby World Cup Pool C

Japan Join Ireland In Women’s Rugby World Cup Pool C

The completion of the Asia/Oceania qualification tournament earlier today means the make-up of the pools for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 is now complete. Japan, who qualified as Asia/Oceania 1, will join hosts Ireland, France and Australia in Pool C, while Hong Kong (Asia/Oceania 2) are the final piece of the Pool A jigsaw.

Japan were made to fight hard for a 20-8 win in the final match of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 Asia/Oceania qualification tournament by a Hong Kong side that proved they deserve their place at next year’s flagship event in Ireland every bit as much as their regional rivals.

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Both teams went into today’s game at the Hong Kong Football Club assured of qualification following earlier victories over Fiji. It was Japan who prevailed as they secured their third victory of the year over Hong Kong, following up on their double that secured them another Asian Championship title in May.

Next August will mark Japan’s first Women’s Rugby World Cup appearance since 2002. They also competed in the first two tournaments back in 1991 and 1994.

Ireland have won two of their three previous international clashes with Japan, winning 11-3 at the 1994 World Cup in Scotland and 55-0 at Donnybrook in 2004, with an 18-0 defeat during the 2002 WRWC in Spain.

Two tries from hooker Misaki Suzuki and excellent full-back Mayu Shimizu had Japan leading Hong Kong 10-0 after just eight minutes. With some determined defending, Hong Kong hung in there despite losing lock Ka Yan Chan to the sin-bin.

Talented teenager Shimizu, who also notched a brace against Fiji, swept through for her second try just seven minutes into the second half. Hong Kong opened their account with an Adrienne Garvey penalty, but Japan sealed the result with a forwards-inspired try, prop Saki Minami scoring from close range in the 69th minute.

Maintaining a high work-rate right to the finish, Hong Kong gained some late consolation with a first ever international try from number 8 Nim Yan Li, who profited from centre Natasha Olsen-Thorne’s break and inside pass.

It was a much improved performance from their 30-3 and 39-3 losses to Japan earlier in the year, and Jo Hull’s side – as first-time qualifiers – will add even more excitement and intrigue to a World Cup pool that contains top-ranked New Zealand, 2014 runners-up Canada and Wales.

Spain recently claimed the final European place at Ireland 2017 after battling past a spirited Scotland side to win their two-legged play-off 25-15 on aggregate. They join reigning WRWC champions England, USA and Italy in Pool B.

Ireland Women Drawn In Pool C For Next Year’s World Cup

WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP 2017 POOLS –

POOL A: Canada, New Zealand, Wales, Hong Kong

POOL B: England, USA, Italy, Spain

POOL C: France, Ireland, Australia, Japan

For more information about the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017, visit www.rwcwomens.com.