Olympic Men’s Sevens, Day 1 wrap: Japan stun NZ

Date published: August 9 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09:  Japan players celebrate victory after the Men's Rugby Sevens Pool C match between New Zealand and Japan on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Deodoro Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Japan shocked New Zealand while South Africa and Fiji confirmed their gold medal credentials on the opening day of the Rugby Sevens tournament at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Rugby returned to the Games for the first time in 92 years in a day of high drama and upsets.

POOL C: Japan stun New Zealand

Having famously upset South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Japan were at it again stunning New Zealand 14-12  in the biggest shock in Rio so far. To add insult to injury the New Zealanders lost Sonny Bill Williams and Joe Webber to injury for the rest of the Games. Patience in attack from Japan was rewarded by a try for Kameli Soejima, with Katsuyuki Sakai converting before Japan clung on for win.

The Kiwis came back against Kenya to beat the East Africans 28-5 in a mercurial display. Kenya started off the scoring after Collins Injera broke down the wing and added the first five points for his side. But after that it was all New Zealand as they received penalty try after hero-cum-villain Injera tackled too high and was given a yellow card.

Team GB got off to a winning start by thumping a very dangerous Kenyan team 31-7. They took control of Pool C thanks to a much harder-fought win over the spirited Japanese. The game went down to the wire. Marcus Watson was able to cut through the Japanese line and break the 14-all deadlock in the dying minutes, but Japan never know when they’re beaten and scored a try at the very death. Unfortunately for the Japanese, they could not convert, handing GB a 21-19 victory.

POOL B: Impressive South Africa romp in 50 unanswered points

South Africa looked like a well-oiled machine, taking less than a minute to open the scoring against France, having brushed Spain aside 24-0 earlier in the day.

The Blitzbokke dished out plenty of punishment with Justin Geduld, Kwagga Smith and captain Kyle Brown all in top form as they scored to give SA a 19-0 lead over the French at half time.

Dylan Sage added his name to the scoresheet in the second half while Cecil Afrika’s third successful conversion saw the men in green and gold win 26-0.

Australia lost the opening game of the day to France but bounced back with a win over Spain to claim a 24-12 victory.

POOL A: Fiji down hosts

Fiji underlined their status as the world number 1 team by beating Brazil 40-12 in their first game while Argentina edged the USA  17-14 in session one. The Fijians were made to work very hard for their second win, over Argentina, having to come from behind thanks to two late tries to win 21-14.

Brazil look set to be knocked out after also losing their second game 26-0 to the USA.

 

Pools

Pool A – Argentina, Brazil, Fiji, USA

Pool B – Australia, France, South Africa, Spain

Pool C – Great Britain, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand

Fixtures/Results

Session One

Australia 14-31 France
South Africa 24-0 Spain
Great Britain 31-7 Kenya
New Zealand 12-14 Japan
USA 14-17 Argentina
Fiji 40-12 Brazil

Session Two

Australia 26-12 Spain
South Africa 26-0 France
Great Britain 21-19 Japan
New Zealand 28-5 Kenya
USA 26-0 Brazil
Fiji 21-14 Argentina

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