Japan 'still shocked' after beating New Zealand in Olympic rugby sevens

Japan 'still shocked' after beating New Zealand in Olympic rugby sevens

Japan caused arguably the greatest upset in rugby sevens history by claiming a stunning 14-12 win against New Zealand at Deodoro Stadium today.

The result mirrors last autumn's Rugby World Cup, when a Japan team coached by current England supremo Eddie Jones beat South Africa 34-32 in Brighton.

Today, Japan player Lomano Lemeki described the latest feat as "unbelievable" after New Zealand, who also lost star player Sonny Bill Williams to a tournament-ending injury, were floored.

Japan took an early lead through a try from Teruya Goto that Lemeki converted, but that was the cue for an immediate response.

Scott Curry and Akira Ioane collected touchdowns either side of half-time, but Japan would not buckle and they secured a famous victory through Kameli Soejima's try that Katsuyuki Sakai converted.

"It is unbelievable," Lemeki said.

"You never see a minnow come here and beat a team which is supposed to be a gold medal contender. I am still shocked, to be honest.

"As we played on, we started getting more confident and New Zealand started to struggle a bit.

"We thought if we kept moving the ball around, the big guys would tire somewhere, and they eventually did.

"We had a game plan against New Zealand - play at our pace, and they would get frustrated."

Great Britain and Kenya are also in Japan's group, and asked if his team could progress deep into the three-day tournament, Lemeki added: "I think we can, after we showed that any team can win.

"We need to keep working hard, and I am sure we will."

A thrilling opening round of fixtures also saw a highly-fancied United States team lose 17-14 to Argentina, while Australia came unstuck 31-14 against France.

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