Lilian Zhou gave the Chinese the perfect start with a try in the first minute, but Japan fought back to level the scores through Marie Yamaguchi’s try. It looked like the sides would be level at half-time but with the last play Shuchao Sun touched down to make it 14-7 to China.
The second half was equally tight and end to end with the score remaining that way until Chiharu Nakamura touched down for Japan. The conversion was crucially missed so China still led with three minutes to go and a nervous finish was guaranteed.
Japanese replacement Yoko Suzuki scored what she thought was the match-winning try right at the death, but it was ruled out by the referee for a forward pass and Japan had to settle for the silver – their first medal in the Asian Games women’s rugby competition.
Kazakhstan won the bronze medal after overturning a pool loss to Hong Kong with a 12-0 win in the third place play-off.
“We turned over too much ball and you can’t win a game unless you have possession,” said a disappointed Rose Fong, one of the stalwarts of the Hong Kong side.
China had earlier run in four tries past Kazakhstan, the side that beat them in the 2010 final in Guangzhou, to book their place in the final with a 24-12 victory, while Japan warded off a spirited Hong Kong side to win the other semi-final, 17-10.
Final standings | Asian Games
4. Hong Kong
|60||18:30:00||Kazakhstan||12||Hong Kong||0||Bronze Medal|