Onto the World Cup: S. Korean Nat'l Rugby Sevens Team making great strides after Olympics
Updated: 2021-12-17 11:02:17 KST
They're not the biggest.
They aren't the strongest or fastest either.
That isn't stopping the South Korean rugby sevens team, though, because another milestone's been reached just months after making their Olympic debut.
The national team's heading to the World Cup for the first time in seventeen years.
"We're aiming to win at least one game in the upcoming World Cup. And after that? Gold at the Hangzhou Asian Games."
Back in November, Korea beat rival Japan in a major upset during the semifinals of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series before finishing runners-up to Hong Kong making them one of two Asian countries set to compete in South Africa come September.
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"What a joy it was to score the winning try in that historic moment. That it broke the tie made it feel twice as good."
"I think the concept of losing to Japan in the Olympics and now having the opportunity to get one back on them and also create an opportunity where Japan doesn't go to the Rugby World Cup Sevens for the first time ever I think that was (what) sort of made the players dig a little bit deeper."
The national squad's recent strides come as the Korea Rugby Union pushes to take the sport to new heights recruiting coaching staff from abroad, adopting new training practices and more.
"We've changed the player selection process. Before, the Union mainly assembled national squads with previous picks but now players have to take part in transparent qualifiers, where their skills can be carefully reviewed."
Head coach Charles Louw believes the changes are all part of a bigger picture taking the sport mainstream in the country and developing infrastructure so that Korean rugby can grow from the grassroots level all the way to the top.
"what's important is that we create pathways for players at younger levels so we develop systems so that they know that if they work really hard, they can make the national team and end up going to let's say the Olympics or the Rugby World Cup."