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India lose both matches on Opening Day of Asian Women's Sevens Rugby

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Defending champion China and runner-up Kazakhstan registered three wins each to top their respective pools, while Fiji and Japan emerged as challengers as they too topped their pools at the end of the league matches in the Asian Rugby Sevens Women’s championship at the Balewadi Sports Complex athletics stadium on Saturday.

India, however, faced ignominy of losing heavily against their Pool A opponents, as Hong Kong and Japan blanked the host, who were unable to match up to their well-tuned rivals in any department of the game.

The Ranked No 68 in the world, India are out of the running to qualify for the Moscow World Championship after losing to Hong Kong (0-36) and then to Asian powerhouse Japan (0-49).

The Indian players set the ball rolling for the biggest women’s rugby event that Asia has seen so far as they were led out onto the pitch by captain and Pune girl Surabhi Date against Asian No 5, Hong Kong.

Though much was not expected from the Indian women, who even failed to cross the half-line and get into the rival side despite huge fan support, such sheer decapitation was shocking after India had hired services of French coach Pierre Bellamere who worked for more than a month to fine tune the team players.

The Hong Kong team opened the scoring in the second minute through Rose Fong and from then it was one way traffic. Hong Kong were leading 19-0 during half time and the scoreline at final whistle read 36-0.

Against Japan, India went down in the second minute when Marie Yamaguchi scored five pointer while Indians struggled to keep up the pace with their opponents. Marie went on to score five more while Chihaharu Nakamura scored 12 as Japan annihilated India 49-0.

In other matches, China defeated  Thailand 4-10, beat Malaysia 49-0 and won against the Philippines 29-0 to top Pool C. Thailand too made it to the quarterfinals from this pool by winning two of the three league matches.

In Pool D, Kazakhstan won all their matches to top the pool ahead of Singapore, who also made it to the quarterfinals. Fiji, the island country from the Pacific, who is competing for the first time in the Asian championship, made a strong statement by winning all three league matches to top Pool B. Chinese Taipei also progressed ahead with two wins from three matches.

Results:

Pool A: Hong Kong 36 (Colleen Tjosvolid 14, Rose Fong 10, Aggie Poon Pak Yan 7, Natasha Olson-Thorne 5) beat India 0; Japan 49 (Marie Yamaguchi 10, Yume Okuroda 2, Kieko Kato 5, Chisato Yokoo 5, Ayaka Suzuka 5, Chihaharu Nakamura 12, Meerarani Hembram 5, Chikami Inoue 5) beat India 0; Japan 19 beat Hong Kong 7.

Pool B: Chinese Taipei 45 beat South Korea 0; Fiji 44 beat Sri Lanka 7; Chinese Taipei 26 beat Sri Lanka 7; Fiji 50 beat South Korea 0; Sri Lanka 43 beat South Korea 0; Fiji 36 beat Chinese Taipei 7.

Pool C: Thailand 45 beat Malaysia 0; China 29 beat The Philippines 0; Thailand 31 beat The Philippines 7; China 49 beat Malaysia 22; The Philippines 40 beat Malaysia 7; China 41 beat Thailand 20.

Pool D: Singapore 20 beat Iran 0; Kazakhstan 31 beat UAE 0; Singapore 19 beat UAE 15; Kazakhstan 36 beat Iran 12; Iran 10 beat UAE 5; Kazakhstan 31 beat Singapore 0.

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