Japan and Kazakhstan still in frame for Paris

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 4 September 2013
 Japan and Kazakhstan still in frame for Paris
Wing Marie Yamaguchi scored six tries for Japan against Hong Kong - photo: JRFU

Japan will face hosts Kazakhstan for the right to represent Asia at Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 in France after they overcame Hong Kong 82-0 and Singapore 91-7 on day one of the region's qualifying tournament in Almaty.

The Japanese were first to reach the final, never looking back after veteran number 8 Angela Elting scored the opening try in the first minute. Six other tries followed before half-time with wing Marie Yamaguchi completing her hat-trick after touchdowns by Elting, Takako Matsudaira and Rei Yamada.

Yamaguchi was not finished there, though, and added a second half hat-trick with Japan ultimately breaching the Hong Kong try-line 14 times with captain Misaki Suzuki, Mio Suzuki, replacement Mateitoga Bogidraumainadave and Chisato Yokoo also getting their names on the scoreboard.

The final score could have been much higher, but Japan - who last played on the Women's Rugby World Cup stage back in 2002 - only managed to covert six of their 14 tries.

Kazakhstan, who have beaten Japan to qualify for the last two Women's Rugby World Cups, then signified their intent to secure Asia's berth at France 2014 with a dominant display against Singapore.

The region's number one side proved far too strong for the Singaporeans and will be the overwhelming crowd favourites for the final.

The two remaining places at France 2014 will be filled on Saturday, one by the Asian qualifier and the other by the winner of the African qualifier between South Africa and Uganda, which kicks off at Buffalo City Municipal Stadium in East London at 15:00 local time.

They will join the six automatic qualifiers - defending champions New Zealand, 2010 runners-up England, Australia, hosts France, USA and Canada - along with Ireland, Wales, Spain and Samoa, who secured their places through the qualification process which began back in early 2012.