Hong Kong won the Borneo Sevens title on Sunday, beating Japan 31-28 in the second of two ranking events in the ARFU Asian Rugby Sevens Series, giving them momentum heading into the Asian Games in Guangzhou on 21-23 November.
Korea won the first ranking event, the Shanghai Sevens in September, and both sides will head to the Asian Games in China later this month buoyed by their performances, having also qualified to play at the 2011 Hong Kong Sevens.
The top six teams after the two ranking events win a prestigious ticket to the event next March and in a repeat of last year's final, Hong Kong took revenge on defending champions Japan to win the Borneo leg of the Asian Rugby Seven Series at the Likas Stadium in rainy conditions.
Hong Kong took an early lead when Jamie Hood broke free for a try but Japan answered almost immediately to level the scores. Both sides scored again before the end of the first half, but a missed conversion from Hong Kong's second try meant Japan led 14-12 at the break.
Three early tries in the second half, with two courtesy of prop Kwok Kah Chun, gave Hong Kong an unassailable 31-14 lead. Although Japan came back strongly in the dying minutes, it was a case of too little, too late as Hong Kong held on for the victory.
"Japan is a difficult team to defeat and it was a great win for us, especially as we head towards the Asian Games. This team has been together for over a year and it's quite possibly the best squad we have ever had," said a jubilant Hong Kong coach Dai Rees.
"It is especially nice to win in Borneo, Malaysia, which I believe is one of the best venues on the circuit."