Having earlier defeated the Republic of Korea 50-5 in their first match, New Zealand ran in five tries to two to beat a gutsy Argentinian side, who beat Australia in Pool A today (NZT).
It was a messy opening couple of minutes, with a missed tackle resulting in Argentina scoring the first points. But a good passage of defence and a turnover saw the Kiwis hit back through Ngarohi McGarvey-Black.
Sione Molia’s slick footwork and a dummy gave his side a 14-7 lead at the break. It was Argentina who scored first in the second spell, with another lapse in New Zealand’s defence. But at 14-all the floodgates opened, with Scott Curry setting up Joe Webber to score, before Tim Mikkelson and William Warbrick sealed the deal.
In their opening match of Tokyo 2020 earlier this afternoon, New Zealand proved to be too good for the Republic of Korea, coming away with a 50-5 victory. The Republic of Korea found themselves playing with six men on two separate occasions, both players yellow carded for deliberate knock downs. New Zealand dominated possession with 89% of the ball and after a shaky start, managed to pull away from their opposition in the second half.
Following New Zealand’s win over Argentina, co-captain Tim Mikkelson credited his side’s defence.
“We slipped off a few tackles in the first half, but we kept them from going up 14-0 and we ended up scoring. I think that was a huge part of the game. Argentina have won the last three tournaments they’ve played, so we knew they were a good team and we had to be up for it.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s final pool match against Australia, Sione Molia knows exactly what to expect from the Trans-Tasman rivals, after playing them in an Oceania tournament earlier this month.
“They are always bringing it to us. They are one down, so they are definitely going to come at us tomorrow. For us it’s just having a look back at what we need to do to beat Australia.”
Mikkelson said it’s special to be playing on the world stage again.
“It feels amazing. It’s been a while since we played a tournament, so to play here at the Olympics is something special with these boys and I’m looking forward to kicking on tomorrow.”
Day One results
New Zealand Men 50 (Andrew Knewstubb, Tim Mikkelson 2, penalty try, William Warbrick 2, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black tries; Knewstubb 2 con, McGarvey-Black 2 con) Republic of Korea 5 (Yeon Sik Jeong try) HT: 14-5
New Zealand Men 35 (Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Sione Molia, Joe Webber, Tim Mikkelson, William Warbrick tries; McGarvey-Black 2, Webber, Knewstubb 2 con)
Day Two fixtures (Tuesday 27 July)
New Zealand Men v Australia at 1.30pm NZT
Quarterfinals from 8.30pm NZT