A ‘buoyant’ Wales Sevens side landed in Tokyo this morning braced for a tough draw in round seven of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Tokyo Sevens at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground.
Paul John’s men put up a heroic performance in the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens in the weekend, losing a nail-biting final against defending champions Fiji in front of a packed Hong Kong Stadium.
It was the first time Wales had ever reached a Cup final in the IRB Sevens series. Leading 19-0 at halftime, Wales were just 10 minutes away from glory but super-sub Osea Kolinisau entered the fray and scored a second half hat-trick to deny Wales glory.
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“It was an amazing atmosphere as there was a lot of Welsh support there,” said Wales Sevens head coach Paul John. “I’m really proud of the effort the boys put in.
“The boys played some cracking rugby and entered the competition with a great attitude. They really accounted themselves well throughout the tournament. To go 19-0 up against a very good Fiji side in the first half of the final was an exceptional effort. Unfortunately we couldn’t get our hands on the ball in the second half and Fiji came away with the title.
“There is no time rest on our laurels though as we’ve got Kenya, USA and Scotland this week in the Japan Sevens. Some might say it is an easy group but as last weekend proved, there are no longer any easy groups on the circuit.
“We’re carrying a few bumps and bruises but just have to re-charge our batteries and maintain the momentum into this weekend.
“Kenya will be looking for revenge after we beat them in Hong Kong in the semi-finals and are looking for a top three finish while USA and Scotland will be desperate to get away from the bottom of the series standings as they won’t want to be relegated.”
Wales’ haul of 19 points for reaching the final has seen them jump to sixth place in the overall standings with 63 points with New Zealand leading the way with 113 with three rounds to play.