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Borneo 7s to test developing Asian nations

The IRB Asian Sevens Series in Borneo this weekend will feature the four national women’s teams from Malaysia (pictured left), Thailand, Guam and India. The event is being held at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu from Oct 31 to November 1.

Thailand may well start the tournament this weekend as favourites having done well in the past 12 months in all competitions and having focused on 7s as their level of choice in recent years. They are also the most experienced team among the four competing.

They played their first international 7s game in 2000 and were at the World Cup Sevens in Dubai this year. There they lost all of their games but were not by any means disgraced, coming within two points of beating Brazil and losing only by seven to Italy.

Since then things have been on the up for Thailand and in March they were Plate winners at the Hong Kong Sevens and in May they hosted the Asian championships, finishing runners-up to China, but beating Kazakhstan on the way.

For Malaysia the competition rounds off a busy year of international action following on from previous appearances in 7s competitions this year including the Asian Womens Sevens event in Thailand last May.

There, they beat Cambodia and India but lost to Iran and Laos before finishing second overall in the developing division.

Guam are a specialist 7s side having only appeared at that level internationally. They began playing as a national side in 2006 at the Hong Kong Sevens. They finished bottom of the table at Hong Kong earlier this year, but did draw with Singapore and only lost 7-0 to Hong Kong. At the Asian Championships they drew with Hong Kong and beat Singapore - their first ever international win (21-0). They also beat Taipei on the way to finishing 6th.

Last month Guam played in a series of exhibition games against China during the Singapore 7s so they will feel prepared for the Borneo event.

India also made their international debut this year making a first appearance in Thailand in May at the Asians alongside other new teams Malaysia and Iran and they will seek to build on that base for the year ahead.

Kazakhstan and Singapore were also due to take part in the tournament but are instead now focusing on the Asian World Cup Qualifiers which start on November 4.