Japan have won the second round of the Asia 7s in Korea, tieing the series with one round to go in the UAE.
It will be all to play for in the UAE in two week’s time after Japan avenged their defeat in the Thailand 7s to beat China in Incheon this weekend.
With Sri Lanka back from their ban, eight teams took part in the two-day tournament.
China swept through Pool A with only Kazakhstan taking points off them. The Kazakhstanis joined them in the last four, making up for their slip in Bangkok by beating their main rivals Hong Kong 15-7 in their opening game.
Japan and Thailand had few problems in Pool B, Japan winning a tense final pool match against the Thais by just 7-0, ensuring that they would avoid China until the final.
After the exciting semi-finals in Bangkok, the games in Incheon were remarkably one-sided, Japan seeing off Kazakhstan 43-0, and China dismissing Thailand 29-0.
However the final itself was just as enthralling as in Bangkok. Japan lead 12-0 early in the second half before a yellow card for Chiaki Saegusa allowed China to pull a try back. Then, within 10 seconds of Saegusa’s return, Japan’s Chiharu Nakamura received a yellow – and China scored again, going ahead 14-12 with the conversion.
Japan held on, and back to full strength started a final play that lasted a full two minutes before Wakaba Hara finally found space to score for Japan, winning 19-14.
Pool A: Hong Kong 7-15 Kazakhstan; China 55-0 Sri Lanka; Hong Kong 47-0 Sri Lanka; China 29-7 Kazakhstan; Kazakhstan 46-0 Sri Lanka; China 33-0 Hong Kong
Pool B: Japan 39-5 Philippines; Thailand 40-0 Malaysia; Thailand 27-5 Philippines; Japan 46-0 Malaysia; Japan 7-0 Thailand; Malaysia 5-0 Philippines
5th-8th Place Semi Finals: Hong Kong 12-5 Philippines; Sri Lanka 17-14 Malaysia
Semi-Finals: China 29-0 Thailand; Kazakhstan 0-43 Japan
7th Place: Philippines 19-0 Malaysia
5th Place: Hong Kong 43-7 Sri Lanka
3rd Place: Thailand 26-5 Kazakhstan
Final: China 14-19 Japan