Tokyo Olympics: All Blacks Sevens slay Republic of Korea in Games opener

  • Updated
  • 26/07/2021

New Zealand has completed a near-flawless opening day of Olympic rugby sevens competition with two wins from two games.

The All Blacks Sevens followed up an emphatic 50-5 demolition of Korea in the morning session with an equally impressive 35-14 win over a very good Argentina on Monday night.

Argentina led early, but tries to Ngarohi McGarvey-Black and Sione Molia gave New Zealand a halftime lead.

The Pumas came storming out of the break, dotting down in the first minute, but from that point it was all New Zealand.

Joe Webber, Tim Mikkelson and William Warbrick added second-half tries as the All Blacks completed victory and book a spot in the knockout stages. 

Earlier at Tokyo Stadium, captain  Mikkelson and  Warbrick both picked up a brace of tries, as the Kiwis opened Pool A in style.

NZ's Andrew Knewstubb opened the scoring, sneaking a quick tap from a penalty to stroll 20m to dot down.

Tim Mikkelson during New Zealand v Republic of Korea, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Rugby Men's Group A match at Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan on Manday 26th July 2021.
Mandatory credit: @ Kenji Demura /
Photo credit: Photosport

Jeong Yong Sik ran in a try out wide for the underdogs, only for Tim Mikkelson to respond immediately to put the Kiwis ahead 14-5 at halftime.

Early in the second half, Republic of Korea were dealt a huge blow, losing a player to a yellow card for a deliberate knockdown, which also resulted in a penalty try.

William Warbrick promptly added to the NZ lead, only for their opponents to again be reduced to six players by another yellow card offence.

Ngarohi McGarvey-Black also claimed a try, before Warbrick notched his double with a blindside jaunt as fulltime sounded.

The Argentines need to beat minnows South Korea on Tuesday to go through to the knockouts and potentially deny Australiia, who have to beat the All Blacks on day two to keep their hopes alive, although a thumping 42-5 victory over the Koreans improved their points difference after a poor showing in an opening 29-19 loss to Argentina.

Britain were hugely impressive in Pool B wins over Canada and Japan, running in 10 tries without conceding a point, an ominous sign of their potential in the competition for the 2016 silver medallists.

Their big test will come in a final Pool B game against Fiji, who beat them to gold five years ago and have also sealed their quarter-final place, with top spot in the pool to be decided.

Sluggish Fiji failed to get out of second gear on the opening day and were run close by Japan in a 24-19 opening victory, and they were equally lacklustre in a 28-14 win over Canada.

"Right now we are the defending champions in the Olympics, so all the pressure is on us," Fiji captain Jerry Tuwai told reporters.

"It's hard to repeat, because now everyone is gunning for us. The second time is always harder."

Japan and Canada will slug it out in a bid for a win that could put them in quarter-final contention as one of the two best third-placed teams.

For the home side, there is the threat of an early exit after they were semi-finalists in Rio in 2016.

"The beauty of Rugby Sevens is we persevere straight through," Japan captain Chihito Matsui said.

"It (a 34-0 loss to England) was a big defeat, but if we don't turn it around, our Olympics are over."

South Africa and the United States ensured they will be in the top two in Pool C with two wins each, leaving Kenya and Ireland to battle for third

Next up for New Zealand are Australia on Tuesday at 1:30pm (NZ time).

Newshub / Reuters 

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