Top 3 – Teams

Participating Teams by 2014 rankings

Japan

Japan

 

A sensational seven for seven championships since 2008 saw Japan win every match it has played against Asian opponents since the start of the Asian 5 Nations in 2008. Last year's competition saw Japan again in imperious form qualifying for their eighth Rugby World Cup in 2015.

 

With a goal to crack the top 10 in World Rugby and the pressure mounting as hosts of Rugby World Cup 2019, Japan currently reside in the 11th spot and will be looking to another successful run in Asia and the Pacific Nations Championships to put them amongst the global rugby elite.

 

With vast amounts of experience to draw on, sprinkled with the odd flying winger find, Japan will again be a tough challenge for their nearest Asian competitors in Hong Kong and South Korea.

 

HKRFU

Hong Kong

 

Hong Kong finished second overall in Asia in 2014 after a strong campaign that saw them unseat all comers bar a loss to Japan in Week 5.

 

With the move to a new top three format in the new Asia Rugby Championship, Hong Kong retained their proud distinction of being the only team apart from Japan to have never been demoted from the top flight in Asia's premier 15s competition. 

 

While Hong Kong will continue to harbour hopes of upsetting the Asian pecking order with a win over Japan, it will likely concentrate most of its efforts on staving off the challenge of South Korea under this year's home and away format.

 

With a forward pack beefed up in recent season by newly eligible players and an ever-dangerous backline composed of Hong Kong's Asian champion sevens team stars, the two matches versus South Korea will go a long way towards clarifying the picture of who are the contenders to Japan's throne. 

 

Hong Kong warmed up for this year's Asia Rugby Championship campaign with a training match against the Development Team of the Chiefs Super Rugby club from New Zealand. The match marked a new long-term strategic development agreement that targets regular exchange programmes and Tours that will be a key factor in Hong Kong's build-up to future Asia Rugby Championship campaigns. 

 

South Korea

 

Last season, South Korea dropped their away match to Hong Kong to finish in third place overall in Asia. This year, the South Koreans will be looking for a measure of revenge - and have more opportunities to take that measure when they play Hong Kong both at home and away. 

 

With a number of their top guns playing in Japan, the Koreans will be an ever-present danger in 2015, especially at home and if they have their best available for selection. 

 

Strong sides in the sevens game of late have seen South Korea continue to hone their attacking edge and fireworks should be expected when they host Hong Kong.

 

 

 

 

See also

Top 5 – Table

Top 5 – Match Results

Top 5 – Top scorers

© 2005-2011 ARFU. All rights reserved
ARFU, Room 2001-A, Olympic House, 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2504 8311, Fax (852) 2576 7237 - Email: sean.moore@elitestep.com
Link to ARFULink to Rugby World Cup