Japan eye Fiji scalp in Rio

Thu, 11 Aug 2016 10:07
Large japan v nz olympics 800

OLYMPIC SEVENS: Japan playmaker Lomano Lemeki is backing his team to cause a few more upsets in the Olympic Sevens competition and win the competition's gold medal.

Japan shocked the rugby world when they beat New Zealand 14-12 in their opening match of the competition.

After a narrow 19-21 defeat to Great Britain in their second match, Japan continued their fine run of form beating Kenya 31-7 before edging France 12-7 in their quarterfinal.

They will play competition favourites Fiji in the semifinals on Thursday. 

"Honestly, I thought we'd come here to win a few games," told AFP.

"I thought we'd be lucky to make the quarters let alone the semis. 

"So I don't know what's happened here. 

"The way it's gone so far, I think we're still in with a big chance. We just need a few calls to come our way, maybe a few yellow cards and we could be in for a medal."

Lemeki said they will be free from any pressure when they face the Fijians.

"There's no pressure on us, the pressure's on the big teams, they are the ones supposed to be winning the medals, not us."

Meanwhile, Fiji head coach Ben Ryan is happy that they have not picked up any major injury concerns in the competition so far.

The Fijians have beaten Brazil, USA, Argentina (Pool stage) and New Zealand (quarterfinal) on their way to the semifinals.

"Those quarters you just want to get through them with 12 fit men, which we've done," said Ryan.

"We've got one aim and that's to win gold medal, not silver or bronze.

"Sometimes it's dangerous to set out goals as a coach, but we're number one in the world, we're not trying to be arrogant, we're saying this is what we want."

Ryan also played down perceptions of added pressure on his team.

"It's not 'little old Fiji'. We're in the papers on the front and back pages every night, we're in the 6 o'clock news every night," he said.

"Everybody's a household name, the pressure's on them in our bubble in the Pacific every single day. 

"That's not the same with any other team in this tournament, they're not getting pressure they're not used to."

Source: AFP

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Pool 00
Team P W D L Pts
Brazil 7s 0 0 0 0 1
Korea Sevens 0 0 0 0 10
Pool 19
Team P W D L Pts
England Sevens 0 0 0 0 19
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Fiji Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Australia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
France Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Japan Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Russia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Kenya Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Portugal Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Team P W D L Pts
Wales Sevens
Zimbabwe 7s