Japan complete Universiade rugby sevens double

By Alex Dudley

After a week-long competition against fearsome opponents Japan have finally come out on top to win gold in both the men’s and women’s rugby sevens competitions at the FISU Games in Italy.

The tournament was played at the Villaggio del Rugby, and the men’s final was a closely fought match up against South Africa. However, the men from Japan were the ones smiling at the end as they held on for a deserved 15-12 win. Meanwhile, the women made it a double celebration after they performed excellently to beat France 33-7.

“It’s awesome, a good feeling,” said Japan men’s captain Hideto Niguma. “We planned to get this far, and trained very hard to get to the final, and it paid off for us.

“We had a lot of confidence going into this last game. We just believed in what we were doing, and it worked for us.”

While the men’s final was close; the women’s was anything but that. They were too strong for their opponents throughout the competition, and that was telling in the final. Japan went into the break ahead 21-7, before going on to score a further two tries against a tired looking French side.

The women ended the competition unbeaten having also won all of their three group stage games; including a 24-17 victory over the French at that stage too.

Gold medal winner Yume Hirano expressed her delight at the achievement. “I am very happy for this medal,” she said. “Every game has been hard, and this one was also tough. We are very proud.”

The Nippon Sport Science University student also told reporters about her plans for the next 12 months. She said: “I will try and go to the Olympics and win the gold medal.”

Earlier in the day, the French men’s side won 12-10 against Russia to win the bronze medal, and Russia won the same honour in the women’s half after outlasting South Africa 12-10.

Main photo: Asia Rugby

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