Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Sport

Olympics-Rugby-Reigning champions Fiji scrape past Japan in Sevens opener

Fiji's Waisea Nacuqu scored two second-half tries as the defending Olympic Rugby Sevens champions survived a scare from hosts Japan to eventually run out with a 24-19 victory on Monday, the opening day of the 12-team tournament.

TOKYO: Fiji's Waisea Nacuqu scored two second-half tries as the defending Olympic Rugby Sevens champions survived a scare from hosts Japan to eventually run out with a 24-19 victory on Monday, the opening day of the 12-team tournament.

In sweltering conditions in Tokyo, with no fans present in line with anti-coronavirus curbs, Japan led 19-12 just after half-time with Fijian-born Lote Tuqiri among their try-scorers.

But an inability to gather from restarts was a constant Achilles heel for Japan, and Fiji's Nacuqu was able to profit twice from their mistakes, much to the relief of the gold medallist from five years ago in Rio.

In the other match in Pool B, Britain overcame a slow start to run in four tries and record a comfortable 24-0 victory over Canada. Dan Norton, the most accomplished try-scorer in Sevens history, broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time, and then added a second from the kick-off at the start of the second.

In Pool A, gold medal contenders New Zealand breezed past South Korea with a comfortable 50-5 victory in the end as co-captain Tim Mikkelson led from the front with a brace of tries.

But the Koreans kept it tight until the break, Yeon Sik Jeong bagging their historic maiden score at the Olympics in an impressive first half that saw them trail just 14-5 at half-time. Two yellow cards for the Asian side and New Zealand's experience proved the difference in the second period, as the latter ran away with the contest in an eight-try romp.

The other Pool A game saw Australia make a poor start to their campaign as Argentina ran in four first-half tries on their way to a 29-19 victory. In the toughest of the three group-stage pools, the result leaves Australia immediately on the back foot in their bid for a quarter-final place.

Pool C favourites South Africa, with coach Neil Powell in COVID-19 isolation, were efficient with their use of tactical kicking to defeat Ireland 33-14 as they ran in five tries.

Meanwhile while United States captain Madison Hughes scored a try in the final minute to edge out Kenya 19-14 in the other Pool C game.

A second round of pool matches will be played later on Monday, with the third and final round to take place on Tuesday. The top two teams in each pool, along with the two best third-placed nations, advance to the quarter-finals, also to be played on Tuesday.

The semi-finals and final will be played on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Mayu Sakoda; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

Source: Reuters

Advertisement

Also worth reading

Advertisement