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Home > News > Japan in shock loss in Shanghai 7's
Your News Japan in shock loss in Shanghai 7's

Japan was the biggest victims on the opening day at the Shanghai Sevens after Malaysia outplayed the defending series champions to register a shock 26-22 victory in Pool A competition on Saturday.

The other two seeded sides, South Korea and Hong Kong emerged unscathed from the preliminary round competition to book their expected berths in the knockout round on Sunday in the first ranking leg of the IRB Asian Rugby Sevens Series.

Japan was undone by a Malaysian side filled with locally qualified Fijians and coached by Fijian sevens legend Tomasi Cama. Japan finished second-best in a game which wasnt as close as the scoreline suggested. Malaysia had led 26-15 before Japan scored with the final move of the game to narrow the gap.

The win earned Malaysia top slot in Pool A as they also defeated Thailand 17-7 and Singapore 47-0. However, Japan will still advance to the Cup quarterfinals by defeating Singapore 43-0 and Thailand 43-7, and will come up against Hong Kong when the action heats up at the Shanghai Rugby Football Club on Sunday.

Hong Kong looked composed and classy as they convincingly won all their three games in Pool C. They started with a 40-7 victory over Sri Lanka, then romped to a 39-0 win over the Philippines before wrapping up a good first day with a 33-12 win over host nation China.

We are up-and-running, said Hong Kong head coach Dai Rees. Im pleased we won all three games, but Im more happy with the way we are playing.

Hong Kong lost to Japan on all three occasions they met last year but Rees remained unworried.

We knew we would face either Japan or Malaysia in the Cup quarterfinals. And Malaysia look strong especially with all their Fijian players. We are ready to face anyone and Im not worried as we are playing good rugby, Rees said.

Defending Shanghai champions South Korea topped Pool B with wins over Guam (24-0), India (35-7 and Chinese-Taipei (40-7).

The other major surprise of the day belonged to India who seemed to benefit from all the hard work over the past few months as they defeated the much-fancied Chinese-Taipei outfit 14-7 in their opening Pool B game.

Led by skipper Nasser Hussain, India came back from trailing 7-0 at half-time to kick-start their campaign as the nations build-up to the Commonwealth Games gathers momentum. Hussain hailed the performance, and it was creditable considering that Chinese-Taipei have a long pedigree at sevens including winning the silver medal at the 2002 Asian Games in Pusan.

This is the first time we have ever beaten Chinese-Taipei on the rugby field and it is a big win for us, Hussain said. But Im a bit unhappy we left it until late to secure the win. We had so much possession and we should have put them away early.

Hussain said the victory was a shot in the arm to the build-up to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi next month.

This is our last big competition before the Commonwealth Games and it is good to get a big win, Hussain said.

The Shanghai Sevens and the Borneo Sevens in October comprise the two ranking tournaments to decide the top six Asian sides who will win a berth at the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens next March. Chinese-Taipei has been a regular visitor since 1980 while India have still to make their debut. But Saturdays win will give India a huge boost of confidence.

India look a very capable side and this victory will do their confidence a huge good, said Jarrad Gallagher, IRB Asia Regional Development Manager. They have done a lot of work preparing for the Commonwealth Games and it seems to be paying off.

The victory continues a recent good run of form for Indias sevens squad. They won two tournaments in Turkey and England earlier this summer which were a build-up to the Commonwealth Games.

In April, India visited rugby haven New Zealand on a three-week learning stint and trained under All Black legend Murray Mexted. This was followed by an eye-opening training spell with New Zealands sevens maestro Gordon Tietjens, who has guided the Kiwis to nine IRB World Sevens Series titles and three Commonwealth Games golds.

Hussain said the experience of playing against New Zealands elite sevens players had helped build confidence in his team.

We were in awe of them at the start but once we started playing against them, we realised they were not super-heroes, Hussain said. All the hard work of the previous months is starting to pay off.

That poise saw India come through with flying colours in their opening match at the Shanghai Rugby Football Club, and add credence to the view that the cricket-crazy nation is fast becoming a serious contender on the Asian scene.

India however failed to keep the momentum going and slipped to a 35-7 loss to South Korea before narrowly losing 12-5 to Guam in their final pool game.

Tomorrows cup quarterfinals will see Malaysia face India, Korea take on Sri Lanka, Hong Kong meet Japan and China play Guam.

Preliminary Round Results

Pool A: Japan 43 Singapore 0; Malaysia 17 Thailand 7; Japan 22 Malaysia 26; Thailand 26 Singapore 12; Japan 43 Thailand 7; Malaysia 47 Singapore 0.

Pool B: India 14 Chinese Taipei 7; South Korea 24 Guam 0; Korea 35 India 7; Chinese-Taipei 19 Guam 14; Korea 40 Chinese Taipei 7; India 5 Guam 12.

Pool C: Hong Kong 40 Sri Lanka 7; China 26 Philippines 0; Hong Kong 39 Philippines 0; China 21 Sri Lanka 19; Hong Kong 33 China 12; Philippines Sri Lanka.

Seedings after Day 1

Pool A

1. Malaysia

2. Japan

3. Thailand

4. Singapore Pool B

1. Korea

2. Guam

3. India

4. Chinese Taipei Pool C

1. Hong Kong

2. China

3. Sri Lanka

4. Philippines

Day 2 (5th Sept) - Schedule

Q/F 1 Malaysia v India (next best 3rd place team)

Q/F 2 Korea v Sri Lanka (best 3rd place team)

Q/F 3 Hong Kong v Japan

Q/F 4 Guam v China

Bowl - S/F 1 Thailand v Singapore

Bowl - S/F 2 Chinese Taipei v Philippines

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