Australia advance in Tokyo Olympics rugby sevens but mighty Fiji await in quarter-finals
Australia scraped into the quarter-finals of the Olympic rugby sevens on Tuesday (Jul 27), after a wet morning session completed the pool stages at the Tokyo Stadium, and will face defending champions Fiji in the knockout round.
TOKYO: Australia scraped into the quarter-finals of the Olympic rugby sevens on Tuesday (Jul 27), after a wet morning session completed the pool stages at the Tokyo Stadium, and will face defending champions Fiji in the knockout round.
New Zealand will meet Canada in what should be a routine assignment in their quarter-final, while Britain tackle the United States, and South Africa face off against impressive Argentina.
Australia finished as one of the best third-placed teams following a 14-12 loss to Pool A winners New Zealand in what was an improved showing from their limp opening day performance.
Experienced Samu Kerevi and captain Nick Malouf gave Australia a 12-0 lead with early tries, but Kiwis Andrew Knewstubb and Dylan Collier ensured that the All Blacks won all three of their pool games.
"We will have to make sure our defence is better (against Fiji),” Malouf said. “The stakes are starting to get high, so it is exciting. Defence is what wins championship and medals. We know we have got great attacking weapons too.”
Argentina brushed aside Asian qualifiers South Korea 56-0 for the biggest win of the pool stages as they ran in eight tries to continue their eye-catching form.
Pool B winners Fiji were disappointing by their high standards on the opening day, but were excellent as they brushed aside Britain 33-7 in a five-try romp that showcased all their power, pace and skill, and served as a warning to the rest of the field.
Britain did not concede a single point on day one of the competition, but were no match for the Pacific islanders in a repeat of the gold medal match in 2016.
Canada beat Japan 36-12 to scrape into the quarter-finals, with the hosts unable to repeat their semi-final place of five years ago.
“We could have won today but kept giving away penalties and couldn’t keep up with the pace,” Japan’s Kazushi Hano said.
“Currently, 15-man rugby is the norm in Japan, but through this Olympics, people have got to know about sevens. I hope it will build from here.”
Ireland needed to beat Kenya in Pool C by eight points to advance ahead of Canada as one of the best third-placed teams, and led 12-0 with under a minute remaining, only for Vincent Onyala to score a try and dash their hopes.
South Africa defeated the US 17-12 to top Pool C with a full haul of three wins.
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