After an exciting first day of the inaugural men’s Olympic rugby sevens tournament, the round of quarterfinals kicked off Wednesday.
Fiji 12, New Zealand 7
Rugby powerhouse New Zealand saw their gold medal aspirations come to an end Wednesday, falling in their quarterfinals matchup against the top-seeded Flying Fijians.
New Zealand were gifted a tournament lifeline when Fiji defeated the United States earlier in Day 2, however, the 12-times world champion Kiwis’ squad were unable to capitalize of the reprieve during wet conditions at Deodoro Stadium.
New Zealand entered the match without the services of code-hopping superstar Sonny Bill Williams, as the World Cup champion suffered a partially ruptured Achilles tendon early in the second half of his side’s shock 14-12 loss to Japan
Osea Kolinisau finished a brilliant length-of-the-field try to open the game. Jerry Tuwai skipped through the All Blacks defense to add a second for the Pacific islanders.
Japan 12, France 7
Japan’s incredible run in Rio continued Wednesday after the team earned two spirited victories to reach the semifinals. A majestic 31-7 triumph over Kenya earlier in the day was followed by their defeat of France.
Tomohiro Segawa’s team has moved to within one win of an Olympic medal.
France enjoyed a 7-0 lead at halftime thanks to a successful try from Damian Cler. Japan would answer immediately with a score from Lote Tuqiri; however, Japan failed on their conversion, allowing Les Bleus to relish with a lead for most of the second half as well.
With the victory seemingly in hand, France never saw the impending onslaught they’d be facing coming — inside the French 22, Japan scored the winning try with less than 22 seconds remaining in the match. Teruya Goto picked the ball up from a ruck and barged over for the match-winning try.
Great Britain 5, Argentina 0
After a tense and closely fought match, time on the clock expired with the game tied 0-0. Both sides saw their fair share of winning opportunities come and go, but in the end, the Britons managed to sneak through by the skins of their teeth.
Argentina missed a penalty drop kick that would have provided the squad with a vital lead. Adding further insult to injury was Juan Imhoff, who saw himself yellow carded with just 40 seconds remaining for a dangerous tackle. Argentina were fortunate to not concede any points during his absence.
Great Britain suffered from similar drama — James Davies was booked himself, but his teammates allowed no tries across in his absence, either.
An extra period of five minutes, played under the terms of sudden death, commenced. Britain saw themselves with the first chance to win the game with a penalty. Tom Mitchell’s effort came agonizingly close, but hit the upright, leaving the game in the balance.
Just moments later, Dan Bibby scored the winning try after throwing a dummy pass which gave him the gap to dive over for the five-pointer.
South Africa 22, Australia 5
South Africa got their last laughs after losing to the Aussies during the pool stage of play, a convincing victory keeps their gold medal hopes alive.
Rosco Specman got the scoring started for the Blitzboks, he received a magnificent inside pass from team captain Kyle Brown for the early 5-0 lead. Seabelo Senatla extended the lead to 10-0 after finishing off out wide, but Australia hit back quickly with a try of their own through Tom Cusack, reducing the deficit to only five points.
In the second half, a poor clearance kick by the Australians saw Brown give his side a commanding 17-5 lead with less than three minutes to go.