Results from RWC Sevens qualifying
March 18, 2000
Favourites Japan swept into the second round of the 2001 Rugby World Cup Asian qualifiers here Friday.
The top seeds remained unbeaten at the end of the preliminary round with wins over Malaysia, Singapore, China and India to finish unbeaten in Pool A.
But Fijian coach Paulo Nawalu was still an unhappy man, saying Japan had plenty of room for improvement.
"It is a clean slate so far but we relaxed at times and we can't afford to do that in sevens. It will be a different ball game tomorrow and we will have to be at our best to make it to the Cup final," said Nawalu.
Asian champions Japan began the day with a 42-19 thumping of Singapore and followed it up by beating an impressive China 29-12, hosts Malaysia 42-12 and India 70-0.
Japan fielded a couple of Fijians, Diri Yalayala and Filipe Rayasi, who had represented the Pacific Island nation at sevens in the past, and Tongan speedster Simana Mafileo. A fourth overseas-born player, New Zealander Scott Pierce had to pull-out at the last minute through injury.
But the foreign legion who were present turned on the style when needed to take Japan safely into the second round.
Hong Kong dominated pool B beating Thailand 14-7, Sri Lanka 26-12, Arabian Gulf 32-0 and Taiwan 19-14.
Hong Kong and Japan are on course for a showdown in the Cup final. Both finalists will qualify for the World Cup as well as the winner of the Plate.
The 10 teams were re-seeded on the outcome of their first day's results and have been grouped into two more pools - C and D - for another round robin competition, Saturday.
Pool C will comprise Japan, Bowl winners at the inaugural World Cup Sevens in Murrayfield in 1993, Taiwan, China, Sri Lanka and India.
Hong Kong head pool D which will also include Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Arabian Gulf.
The top teams in each pool will play in the Cup competition. The runners-up in each pool will meet in the Plate final with the winner joining the cup finalists in the 2001 World Cup finals in Argentina next January.
Reigning Asian Games rugby gold medallists at both 15s and sevens, South Korea have already gained automatic qualification by virtue of finishing in the top eight at the last World Cup Sevens, in 1997, in Hong Kong.
Preliminary round results on the first day of the 2001 Rugby World Cup Asian Zone qualifiers at the Petaling Jaya Stadium here Friday.