IRB Chairman Concerned by China’s Sevens Failure

November 5, 2012

International Rugby Board Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, is disappointed by China’s failure to qualify for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow and wants to support the nation as they look ahead to the 2016 Olympics, when sevens will be a medal sport for the first time.

“It is disappointing that China’s men’s team failed to qualify. That is the bad news. The good news is that at least we will see the Chinese women’s team in Moscow,” Lapasset said.

The China women’s team qualified for their second World Cup Sevens last month. But the men’s team failed in the fourth and final leg of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series in Singapore on Saturday, losing to Sri Lanka in the Plate competition final.

China coach, Johnny Zhang Zhiqiang, said none of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) players were available as they were not released by the army to play overseas.

China fielded a full-strength team at this season’s Shanghai Sevens and reached the final before losing to Hong Kong.

“We need to talk to the China Rugby Union and see what can be done in the future whereby the national team are able to field their best squad including the army players,” said Lapasset.

“What China must realise is that it is not good for their image when they lose in events like this and fail to qualify [for major international events],” Lapasset said. “We need to change that. The IRB will try to help, and convince the China Rugby Union and other authorities that they have to field their best side at all times at the international level.”

China also failed to qualify for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.{jcomments on}