HONG KONG – Japan have been promoted to the World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 after beating Germany in the annual world series qualifier in Hong Kong on Sunday.
After three days of pulsating action, head coach Damian Karauna’s side finished up 19-14 winners against a powerful German outfit, who have suffered their second qualifier final defeat in as many years.
The victory in front of a packed Hong Kong Stadium means Japan will become one of the 15 core teams contesting the 10-round world series, beginning next December.
“I think that it’s great for us," said Karauna. "We’ve worked really hard to get back and we’ve just got to get that consistency now and keep up with the world series teams. It means a lot and we’ve had a lot of support here which has been great for us.”
In the final, Japan crossed first before Germany took a 14-5 lead into the break after tries from Johnathon Dawe and Bastian Himmer. With less than 15-seconds left, Karauna’s team trailed 12-14 but managed to snatch the match-winner through Masahiro Nakano who finished in the corner in front of jubilant Japanese supporters.
Before joining the series, they will contest the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco on July 20-22 as one of the two Asian qualifiers.
African News Agency