Japan men advance to sevens Bowl final against Russia


Japan advanced to the Bowl final at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow on Sunday, coming from behind to defeat Georgia 24-21 in the semifinal on Katsuyuki Sakai’s late penalty.

Japan, which lost twice and drew once in its three pool matches, demolished the Philippines 50-0 in their quarterfinal, and relied on nine points from Sakai to come from behind against Georgia. Lephua Latuila, Shuetsu Narita and Seiyu Kohara each scored tries as Japan set up a rematch with tournament host Russia later in the day.

The two teams drew 12-12 on Saturday in their final pool game.

In their bowl semifinal, Japan trailed Georgia 14-0 when Zurab Dzneladze was sent to the sin bin 1 minute, 40 seconds into the second half. Japan capitalized 21 seconds later as Latuila crossed and Sakai kicked the conversion.

Viktor Kolelishvili scored the Georgians’ third try at 3:05. The conversion made it 21-7, but Kolelishvili was sin binned at 5:42, and Narita scored less than a minute later, with Sakai on target once more. Kohara got on the scoreboard at 7:22. Sakai tied it with the conversion and won it two minutes later.

Japan’s women earlier lost 19-14 to the Netherlands in their Bowl quarterfinal match.

After losing all three of their pool games, the Japanese women fell behind 19-0 to the Dutch but came back in the second half on tries by captain Chiharu Nakamura and Kana Mitsugi, with Yume Okuroda adding the extras each time.

“We know where we stand,” Nakamura said. “I want us to bridge the existing gap in skill level.”