Ireland fell to a 33-14 defeat to South Africa in their opening Tokyo Olympics rugby sevens pool match, but may still reach the quarter finals.
South Africa got off to a strong start to open a 14-point lead, but Ireland got one back through Gavin Mullin to make it 14-7 at the break in favour of the Blitzboks.
Justin Geduld got the first try of the second half, but Terry Kennedy crossed the whitewash to make it a seven-point game against South Africa with four minutes to go.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) July 26, 2021
Olympic dream not over for Ireland.
The Blitzboks turned the screw from then on however, and finished strongly with tries from Chris Dry and Stedman Gans to secure a 19-point victory.
South Africa are one of the favourites to win the tournament, alongside the likes of Fiji and New Zealand, and won the bronze medal at the the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Despite the loss, Ireland’s Olympic dream is far from over, and have two games remaining in the pool stages, as they take on the USA today at 10.30am Irish time, before they play Kenya at 3am Irish time tomorrow morning.
Ireland may need to win just one of their remaining pool matches to qualify for the quarter-finals, but beating both the USA and Kenya would guarantee them a place in the last eight.
Fiji scrape past Japan while New Zealand brush aside South Korea.
Reigning Olympic champions Fiji were made to work for their first win in Tokyo, as they beat hosts Japan by 24 points to 19 in the opening game of the tournament.
Argentina will be delighted after upsetting Australia in their first game with a 29-19 win, while New Zealand and Great Britain both proved to be far too strong for South Korea and Canada, respectively.
The USA scored right at the death to beat Kenya 19-14 to put themselves in second position behind South Africa in Pool C, while Ireland currently sit in last place.