• Kyodo


Japan beat Ireland 13-12 in the final of the Women’s Sevens Dublin tournament on Sunday, securing a core team place in the Women’s Sevens Series for next season after triumphing in all six games over the weekend.

Japan allowed a 12-0 lead to the host in the final, but scored two second-half tries to make it 12-10 before a penalty from Yume Okuroda turned it around in the dying seconds.

“I was nervous (with the penalty),” said Okuroda. “We were aiming for promotion but we also wanted to win the tournament, and I’m pleased.”

“We kept on running and got ourselves back in the game in the second half. We played our rugby until the very end,” said Marie Yamaguchi, who is confident of her team’s prospects next season.

“We definitely can compete against Australia, New Zealand and 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 qualified,” she said on the tournament’s official website.

Japan defeated Brazil, Wales and Samoa in Pool A, before downing Wales again 17-0 in the quarterfinals and the Netherlands 10-5 in the semifinals. Japan clinched the title against Ireland, which also sealed its place in the world series next season.

“You have to go through tough games to develop strong players,” said head coach Keiko Asami, who reckons the promotion will provide Japan with an excellent opportunity to beef up ahead of the Asian qualifiers for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, starting in November.

The Women’s Sevens Series is scheduled to start in December.

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