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Tokyo Olympics men’s rugby sevens day two recap: Race for gold heats up
We recap all the action from Tokyo Stadium as the men’s Olympic Sevens tournament continues.
Rio 2016 gold medallists Fiji remain in contention to retain the men’s Olympic sevens title following back-to-back victories on day two.
Fiji began the day with a win against Great Britain at Tokyo Stadium which confirmed top spot in Pool B.
In the final match of the day, Jerry Tuwai scored his first two tries of the tournament to help the defending champions book their place in the medal semi-finals with a 19-0 defeat of Australia.
The emotion and ecstasy of victory after two epic #Rugby sevens quarter-finals at #Tokyo2020 #HowWeSevens pic.twitter.com/HFtUGKm0hh— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) July 27, 2021
Argentina stand in the way of Fiji and a return to the gold medal match after the South Americans beat South Africa despite playing for more than 11 minutes with six players.
Gaston Revol was shown a red card for a high tackle in the third minute of their quarter-final against the Blitzboks, but two Marcos Moneta tries helped them secure a 19-14 win.
Meanwhile Great Britain, who won the silver medal in Rio, recovered from losing captain Tom Mitchell to injury and going 21-0 down within five minutes of their last-eight match against the USA to win 26-21.
Ollie Lindsay-Hague scored a crucial try on the stroke of half-time before Ben Harris, Alex Davis and Dan Norton breached the American defence in the second period.
Great Britain will now play New Zealand on Wednesday morning local time, with the victor heading into the gold medal match.
The All Blacks Sevens got their scoring done early against Canada, as first-half tries from Andrew Knewstubb and Scott Curry (two) set them on their way to a 21-10 victory.
Earlier in the afternoon session, Ireland coach Anthony Eddy rang the changes for his side’s ninth-place semi-final against the Republic of Korea but his side still came away with a 31-0 win.
Victory sets up a rematch against Kenya, who denied the Irish a place in the medal quarter-finals, on Wednesday after the Shujaa beat hosts Japan 21-7 in their ninth-place semi-final.
Braid hat-trick helps Canada through
In the opening match of day two Canada did what they needed to do to secure a quarter-final berth, Connor Braid’s hat-trick helping to secure a 36-12 win against Pool B rivals Japan.
The hosts had been surprise semi-finalists at Rio 2016 but were knocked out of medal contention as Braid scored two of his side’s three first-half tries to give them a 19-0 lead at the break.
After Kazushi Hano cut the deficit, Braid crossed for a third time before tries from Phil Berna and Justin Douglas confirmed Canada’s win. It was Japan captain Chihito Matsui who had the last say, however, as he streaked away to score the final try of the match.
Fiji, meanwhile, made sure of top spot in Pool B as they repeated their Rio 2016 gold medal match defeat of Great Britain, winning 33-7 at Tokyo Stadium.
The defending champions needed to work hard to beat both Japan and Canada on day one, but came out in dominant mood on Tuesday.
Asaeli Tuivuaka scored his second try in as many matches to set Fiji on their way and before the break both Sireli Maqala and Jiuta Wainiqolo touched down under the posts to help their side build a 19-0 lead.
Tuivuaka crossed the whitewash for the second time in the match within a minute of the restart, but Great Britain were determined not to let the Fijians run away as they had done in Rio.
Ben Harris got his team on the scoreboard, but as time ticked down the Fijian defence proved too strong and Aminiasi Tuimaba took advantage to score his side’s 13th try of the pool stage.
New Zealand seal top spot in Pool A
Argentina made sure of their place in the quarter-finals with a commanding 56-0 win against the Republic of Korea in Pool A.
Lautaro Bazan Velez set the tone when he crossed for the quickest try of the tournament so far, touching down after just 18 seconds. Matías Osadczuk, Santiago Mare and Luciano Gonzalez would add further tries before half-time.
Rodrigo Isgro crossed within 30 seconds of the restart, and German Schulz, Gaston Revol and Ignacio Mendy followed as Argentina compiled the biggest win in Olympic sevens history.
😳 There’s always drama in the final pool matches@Aussie7s and @RugbyCanada heading to the quarter-finals as the 1st and 2nd best third place teams respectively #HowWeSevens | #Rugby | #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/YHk2vMxb8x— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) July 27, 2021
Australia knew a victory against New Zealand would guarantee them a place in the last eight, and Tim Walsh’s side started quickly in the final match of Pool A.
Samu Kerevi crossed in the opening two minutes and Australia dominated the first half, with captain Nick Malouf adding a second try just over a minute before the break.
But, Dylan Collier scored within 30 seconds of the second-half restart, and although he went to the sin-bin soon after, the All Blacks Sevens coped well while a man down.
Indeed, Andrew Knewstubb scored the decisive try while New Zealand only had six players on the pitch, dancing through the Australian defence to score under the posts and adding the conversion to put his side into a 14-12 lead they would not relinquish.
Heartbreak for Ireland as South Africa wrap up Pool C
Ireland were left heartbroken at the end of their final Pool C match as despite beating Kenya 12-7, Vincent Onyala’s late try meant they missed out on a place in the quarter-finals on points difference.
The Irish knew they needed to beat Kenya by more than seven points to be sure of qualification for the last eight, and made a perfect start as Hugo Lennox and Harry McNulty both scored in the opening three minutes.
Ireland dominated possession for much of the match but were unable to add to their tally and when Onyala scored with less than two minutes to go it meant they needed to score again to go through.
They were able to claim possession from the restart but as the ball was recycled to the left wing, Jordan Conroy knocked the ball on and into touch, and Irish medal hopes were over.
South Africa then secured top spot in Pool C, and a quarter-final against Argentina, when they beat the USA 17-12.
The USA made a fast start to the final match of the pool stage and took the lead with a Joe Schroeder try.
However, the Blitzboks levelled at the end of the first half as Delvyn Davids crossed the whitewash. Two quick fire tries, one from Stedman Gans and another for Davids, then allowed South Africa to take control of the match.
Brett Thompson touched down under the posts to cut the USA’s deficit to five points but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat.