5 Apr 2015

All Blacks Sevens lose to Australia but top pool anyway

6:59 pm on 5 April 2015

The New Zealand men's rugby sevens side stumbled against Australia in their final pool game at the latest World Series tournament in Tokyo, but the All Blacks Sevens still topped their pool.

Sir Gordon Tietjens lays down the law to his team

Sir Gordon Tietjens lays down the law to his team Photo: Photosport

The Australians beat them 19-14 in their last group match, but the New Zealanders remained top thanks to their opening 38-0 hammering of Scotland, which they then added a 26-7 defeat of Portugal, to avenge their shock defeat to the Portugese in pool play in the previous tournament in Hong Kong.

Their win over the reigning champions wasn't enough for the Australians they earlier suffered losses to lowly Portugal and Scotland in their first two pool matches.

Scotland go through instead and face series leaders South Africa in Sunday's quarter-finals.

New Zealand face Canada, Fiji play Japan - in the knockout rounds for the first time since 2000 - and France will play England.

So Australia - currently fourth in the series standings - drop out of the Cup competition to put a big dent in their chances of early qualification for next year's Rio Olympics.

The top four teams at the end of this year's World Rugby Sevens series earn automatic qualification for the Rio Games, while those missing out will get another chance via regional competitions and a world playoff tournament.

Australia's shock defeats in Tokyo have opened the door for fifth-placed England, who are through to the Cup competition thanks to victories over Hong Kong and Wales, to leapfrog Geraint John's team into the coveted top four.

Fiji beat South Africa in the final of the Tokyo series last year.

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