Rio Olympics 2016: All Blacks sevens scrape into quarters after defeat

The New Zealand men's sevens team were handed a 21-19 defeat to Great Britain. Photo / AP
The New Zealand men's sevens team were handed a 21-19 defeat to Great Britain. Photo / AP

If it wasn't for Fiji the New Zealand sevens team would be out of the Olympics. Now the two sides will face off in the quarter-finals.

The New Zealand men's sevens team scraped through to the knock-out phase by the barest of margins.

The All Black Sevens were unable to control their own destiny by losing 21-19 to Great Britain and had to rely on Fiji to beat the United States to make it through as one of two wildcards.

The New Zealanders, shocked by Japan on day one, only qualified on for-and-against differential by one point.

Needing Fiji to beat USA by five points or more in the final pool match to snatch the last position, the Kiwi side watched the Fijians hold on for a tense 24-19 victory over the spirited Americans.

New Zealand play Fiji in what many had predicted to be Thursday night's gold medal game.

In the other quarters, France play Japan, Argentina meet Great Britain and Australia play South Africa.

In their last pool match against Great Britain, New Zealand slipped to a 21-0 halftime deficit before roaring back after the break with three tries.

Giant-slayer Japan's earlier defeat of Kenya meant New Zealand had to win to assure themselves of a quarter-final position.

Sam Dickson, who sparked the fightback against the Brits, said their performances to lose to both Japan and GB have been "really disappointing".

"We just hope luck goes our way. "We had a lot of confidence and faith coming into the Olympics.

"I don't want to make an excuse but geez we've had a bumpy year with injuries and all that and once again the first game we got her we lost two of our strike weapons (Sonny Bill Williams and Joe Webber)."

New Zealand also appear to have lost captain Scott Curry for the tournament as he played no part in the third pool game and was not suited up.

Dickson said it was hard to put a finger on why they have struggled.

"We just had a slow start in that game, and also yesterday against Japan we battled early, but it just shows that if we build the ball and build some phases we're good enough to put on points to any team," he said.

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