Summer Games 2024 Ticket: In a moment of double celebration, Japan’s men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams triumphed in the Asia Rugby qualification tournament in Osaka, securing their spots in the Olympic Paris 2024. Having previously participated in the inaugural Olympic 2024 rugby sevens in Rio 2016 and reprised their roles as hosts in Tokyo 2021, both teams are now set for a hat-trick of appearances in the French capital next year.
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The women’s team initiated the qualification success with a 21-14 victory over China, while the men staged a thrilling comeback, matching the score line to defeat Hong Kong China. Despite the setback, Hong Kong China’s men’s team still has an opportunity to qualify for their first Olympics through the Final Olympic Qualification Tournament in 2024.
China, securing a 36-0 win against UAE in the third-place play-off, will also advance to the men’s competition. Meanwhile, China and Hong Kong China’s women’s teams, as finalists and third-place finishers, respectively, will compete for the final Olympic ticket to the women’s event.
This achievement comes after the Tokyo Olympics played out behind closed doors, providing the majority of Japan’s players with their first experience of participating in a major sevens tournament in front of their home fans.
Paris Olympic: Qualification Drama Sakura Sevens and China’s Thrilling Rugby Sevens Journey
In the end, they rose to the occasion, but both teams allowed the initial scores and faced formidable challenges in their respective finals, a departure from the relative ease they experienced in earlier matches.
The Sakura Sevens expressed gratitude for Ohtani’s double contribution, with the women’s finalists maintaining a flawless record on day one. Japan dominated Pool D, defeating Kazakhstan 43-0 and Thailand 19-0. China showcased even more dominance, scoring 26 tries in commanding victories over Hong Kong China (50-0), India (62-0), and Guam (52-0).
Though both teams conceded for the first time in the semi-finals, they secured spots in the final. The Sakura Sevens thrilled fans at the Yodok Sakura Stadium with a 33-5 triumph over Hong China China, while China triumphed over Thailand 29-5.
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The final lived up to expectations as a clash between the reigning Asia Rugby Sevens Series champions, Japan, and the Asia Games gold medalists, China, with momentum swinging back and forth. Despite an error-strewn start penalized by Yang Feiffer’s opening score.
For China, Japan recovered with a double from Mei Ohtani, leading 14-7 at halftime. Japan’s captain Yume Hirano extended the lead with a well-executed try, but China fought back as Feifei secured her second, narrowing the gap to seven points. As they prepare for the Summer Games 2024, both teams showcased resilience and determination on the path to Olympic 2024 qualification.
Summer Games 2024: Drama Unfolds Japan and Hong Kong China Clash in Intense Rugby Sevens Qualifier
The Sakura Sevens skillfully managed the clock until a turnover second before the hooter, setting the stage for a thrilling finish. Honokaa Tsutsumi’s powerful tackle on halfway forced a critical mistake, leading to a penalty for China as the clock ran out, concluding a breathtaking game.
HEARTBREAK FOR HONG KONG CHINA MEN Hong Kong China’s men showed promise in their quest for a first Olympic appearance, frustrating Japan with their effective breakdown work. Liam Doherty seized an opportunity with a loose ball at the back of a ruck, displaying impressive speed for the opening try.
Needing a lift, Taiga Ishida exhibited strength in contact, evading two tacklers to level the score for Japan. However, Hong Kong China swiftly regained the lead, thanks to Russell Webb’s precise kicking setting up Liam Herbert’s try. Herbert, displaying turnover skills akin to a number seven in 15s, raced to touch down under the posts.
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Despite turnover penalties, Japan orchestrated enough phases to create a score for Kipper Taninaka with only 70 seconds remaining. The successful conversion leveled the scores at 14-14, hinting at the possibility of extra-time as the Summer Games 2024 final hung in the balance.
France Olympic: Japan’s Thrilling Victory Secures Olympic Rugby Sevens Berth
However, Takamasa Maruo had alternative plans as he skillfully evaded a tackle, stretching out at full length to secure the match-winning try and ignite a wave of excitement in the arena. Japan earned their spot in the final with a 21-5 triumph over UAE in the semi-final, rebounding after comprehensive victories against India and Korea but a setback against China on day one.
Hong Kong China, boasting an impeccable 3-0 record in the pool stage, progressed to the semi-finals and triumphed over China with a 19-12 score line. At present, 11 teams have officially confirmed their participation in each event at the upcoming Summer Games 2024 in Paris.
In the men’s competition, hosts France Olympic, along with New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji, and Australia (secured through the World Rugby Sevens Series 2023), have secured their spots, alongside regional winners Uruguay (South America), Ireland (Europe), USA (North America), Kenya (Africa), Samoa (Oceania), and now Japan.
For the women’s tournament, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, and the USA (qualifiers via the World Series) are joined by hosts France and Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, Fiji, and Japan. The stage is set for an electrifying showcase of talent at the Summer Games 2024.
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