Fans of Japan’s Brave Blossoms can now look forward to watching the Asian champion’s sevens team in action during the Singapore leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens in April, with Japan officially named as the wild-card team in the 16-nation tournament.
The Reigning Asian Games champion, who secured an automatic berth for the 2016 Rio Olympics by winning the Asia Rugby Sevens Qualifier in Hong Kong in November, joins the 15 core teams - Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa and Wales – on the World Rugby Sevens circuit which stops over in Singapore on 16th and 17th April.
Japan’s Brave Blossoms, who secured an automatic berth for the 2016 Rio Olympics by winning the Asia Rugby Sevens Qualifier in Hong Kong in November, are the wild-card team for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens. Photo: Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU)
“The Sevens World Series is the world's top tournament for sevens sides in terms of speed, power, skill, tactics and game management,” said head coach Tomohiro Segawa in Tokyo. “At the Singapore Sevens, as Asia’s representative in an Asian country, so we want to beat the top teams. Argentina was the runner-up at last month’s Capetown Sevens and Kenya finished among the top four, so we want to qualify for the Cup and our target is a top four finish in Singapore.”
The 2015-16 World Rugby Sevens season had been billed as the Road to Rio as Rugby Sevens will make its historic debut as an Olympic medal sport in Brazil next August. Already, the first two legs of the World Rugby Sevens series had seen a few upsets and rugby fans will be hoping that the Japanese sevens squad can spring a surprise or two in Singapore.
In the opening Dubai Sevens last month, United States clinched a monumental first World Rugby Sevens series win over New Zealand in the group stage and progressed to the quarterfinals where they dumped defending Dubai Sevens champion South Africa 21-19 out of the tournament. The Eagles then stunned the All Blacks Sevens 31-12 in the bronze play-off in Dubai.
More upsets were recorded a week later at the Capetown Sevens as Argentina beat 12-time World Rugby Sevens Series champion New Zealand 22-19 in the quarterfinals and edged out Kenya 24-22 in a thrilling semi-final to qualify for their first World Rugby Sevens series final.
Rugby and sports fans will no doubt remember Japan’s exploits in the 15-aside game at last year’s Rugby World Cup in England where they lighted up the tournament with three sensational wins including the heart-stopping last-minute 34-32 upset of South Africa. Among the Japanese World Cup heroes that has been drafted to the Sevens team is winger Yoshikazu Fujita who scored a memorable try in the 28-18 win over the United States in Japan's last group game in England.
Yoshikazu Fujita (with ball) in action. Photo: Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU)
Added Japan coach Segawa: “Following the success of our 15s side at the Rugby World Cup, now it's our turn to to deliver a message how good Japan rugby is to the world. We will play our sevens rugby with pride, so that all Japanese who live overseas can be proud of us.”
“Being Asia’s only representative in the World Sevens Series, Japan will definitely enjoy the support of many rugby fans and the Japanese expatriate community in Singapore,” added Sam Chan, General Manager of Rugby Singapore. “We also hope Japanese supporters across Asia will visit Singapore to support their rugby team. As host of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics, I believe Japan will want to impress the world with their on-field performances.”
With exactly 100 days to go to Asia’s most exciting sports lifestyle event, fans hoping to cheer on Japan against the likes of defending series champion Fiji and New Zealand led by World Cup hero Sonny Bill Williams should buy their tickets early to avoid disappointment.
Season passes range from SGD 2 to SGD 150 and fans can expect two days of world-class rugby and spectacular entertainment under the world’s biggest dome. Parents who want to bring their children to enjoy kid-friendly activities and great rugby entertainment in and outside the stadium can consider the weekend family package of SGD 405 which admits two adults and two children.
All prices excluding booking fees and online purchases can be made here.