Sonny Bill Williams ruled out of Games
New Zealand star ruptures Achilles tendon
All Blacks shocked by Japan on opening day
Sonny Bill Williams was supposed to be the face of rugby sevens at the Olympic Games – but the All Black legend won’t play any further part after rupturing his Achilles tendon on the opening day of the men’s competition in Rio.
The two-time World Cup winner limped off during his side’s embarrassing 14-12 defeat by Japan in one of the biggest shocks in the sport’s history.
The 31-year-old was set to rejoin the 15-a-side team ahead of the Rugby Championship which starts later this month.
But his chances of adding to his 33 international caps any time soon appear to be slim after this injury.
It marked a hugely disappointing day for New Zealand, one of the favorites for the gold medal with the path to the final now likely to prove far more difficult.
While it should still progress to the next stage, this result and the absence of Williams will give opponents plenty of encouragement.
Few gave Japan a chance against the third-ranked All Blacks but tries from Teruya Goto and Kameli Soejima as well as conversions from Lomano Lemeki and Katsuyuki Sakai sealed the win.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Japan back Lemeki.
“You’ve got to think that a minnow team can come here and beat a team that’s supposed to be a gold medal contender.
“It’s still pretty unbelievable and I am just shocked to be honest.”
Japan went close to another shock result against Great Britain in its second game but fell just short in a 21-19 defeat.
The British team, which won both of its opening games, will take on New Zealand Wednesday.
The US enjoyed a thumping 26-0 win over host nation Brazil to cancel out a narrow defeat by Argentina in its opening fixture.
It will take on gold medal favorite Fiji in its final match Wednesday with the Pacific Islanders having won both games so far.
In Group B, Australia suffered a shock 31-14 defeat by France in its opening match.
The Wallabies, which bounced back against Spain, now faces a South African side which has recorded two wins out of two.