Japan celebrate their first ever rugby sevens win over New Zealand in their first pool match of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Japan shocked world champions New Zealand on a dramatic and compelling opening day of the Olympic Games men’s rugby sevens competition.
Japan’s historic 14-12 victory reflected a scintillating day of sevens that had fans at a packed Deodoro Stadium on their feet. Had it not been for a missed conversion attempt following a last-gasp try against Great Britain, Japan could have finished day one unbeaten.
Such was the competitiveness of the matches that no team has confirmed their place in the quarter-finals, setting up a compelling final round of pool matches on Wednesday. Only Kenya, Spain and hosts Brazil are out of contention despite defiant performances in their pool matches.
Fiji set the pace in Pool A as Argentina defeat USA
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions Fiji, who have never won an Olympic medal in any sport, won both matches, beating Brazil 40-12 and Argentina 21-14, to top the pool. Argentina claimed a significant scalp, defeating USA 17-14, to set up a thrilling climax to the pool on day two.
South Africa in control in Pool B
The Blitzboks are in pole position for a quarter-final place after defeating Spain 24-0 and France 26-0. France made history by winning the first men’s Olympic Games rugby match since 1924, 34-14 against Australia, and both sides are still in contention after the Australians bounced back to beat Spain 24-7.
All to play for in Pool C after Japan’s historic win
Great Britain top Pool C and are in the driving seat to secure a quarter-final place after defeating Kenya 31-7 and Japan 21-19. Japan and New Zealand can still qualify, having won a match each, but tomorrow’s mouth-watering Kenya v Japan and Great Britain v New Zealand matches will decide whose medal dreams live on.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We have enjoyed a simply incredible day of Olympic Games rugby sevens. The action has been dramatic and exciting throughout and showcased the very best of our sport to the world.
“Wednesday’s morning session will be compelling viewing and it speaks volumes about the competitiveness of sevens when we go into day two with nine teams competing for the eight quarter-final places.”