Sean Horan, New Zealand women’s silver medal-winning coach at Rio 2016, is set to lead another side at an Olympic Games after his new charges China used their recent HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series experience to overpower a largely youthful Hong Kong team and win the Asia Rugby qualification tournament on home soil in Guangzhou, China.
China reached the final after overcoming Thailand 34-0 in the last four, bringing their total points scored on the weekend to 180 against just seven – scored by Hong Kong in Saturday’s 42-7 pool encounter.
China’s qualification takes the number of confirmed teams for the women’s competition at Tokyo 2020 to ten with hosts Japan, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, Kenya and Fiji having already booked their tickets.
Ten men’s teams are confirmed for Tokyo after Kenya booked their place this weekend after winning the Africa Men’s Sevens tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa. They will join hosts Japan, HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series qualifiers Fiji, USA, New Zealand and South Africa and Argentina, Canada, Great Britain and Australia, who all booked their passage to Japan via the regional qualification route.
The final opportunity for qualification is via the global repechage tournament taking place in June next year.
Rugby will return to Japan next summer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games where rugby sevens will be played as an Olympic sport for the second time since its successful introduction at Rio 2016. The tournament is expected to unearth an estimated 30 million new fans worldwide (Nielsen) when it is played at the Tokyo Stadium from 31 July to 1 August 2020.
For all the results from Guangzhou, click here.