Youth Olympic Games hosts China are in the medal hunt in the women’s competition after Rugby Sevens rocked Nanjing 2014 on an exciting opening day.
It may have taken 90 years for Rugby to return to the Olympic programme, but the Nanjing 2014 Rugby Sevens burst into life less than 24 hours after a spectacular opening ceremony.
A vocal crowd, which included former IOC President Jacques Rogge, France legend Serge Betsen and double winter Olympic gold medallist Heather Moyse, were treated to highly-competitive matches and tries galore, underscoring why Rugby Sevens is a great fit for the Olympic stage.
Women’s competition: China thrill at home Games
Australia and Tunisia had the honour of making history by participating in the first Rugby Sevens match on the Olympic stage and Australia’s Kellie Gibson scored the first try as her team went on to win 31-0.
The Australians would go on to finish the day undefeated and top the pool standings after defeating China 15-12 in a cracking top of the table match.
Spain ended the first day in second place in the table, going undefeated after drawing 12-12 with USA and then defeating Tunisia 32-0.
China are also firmly in the medal hunt. The host nation got off to a flying start, defeating Canada 24-10, much to the delight of a packed main stand and sit third in the pool standings.
Canada bounced back to defeat USA 19-14 and also put themselves in medal contention ahead of what promises to be a compelling second day.
Women's Pool Standings after day one
1. Australia - 6 points
2. Spain – 5 points
3. China – 4 points
4. Canada – 4 points
5. USA – 3 points
6. Tunisia – 2 points
Men’s competition: Fiji top pool standings
Fiji and Argentina top the men’s competition after a thrilling first day at the Youth Olympic Games Sports Park.
Both teams won their opening matches with Fiji topping the standings on points difference after wins over Japan (29-5) and USA (29-10).
Argentina opened with a 19-7 win over France, before defeating Kenya 24-0 in the second match of the afternoon session.
France and Kenya remain in the hunt and the scene is set for an interesting second day of competition.
Pool standings after day one
1. Fiji – 6 points
2. Argentina – 6 points
3. France – 4 points
4. Kenya – 4 points
5. USA – 2 points
6. Japan - 2 points
IRB President Bernard Lapasset reflected on an historic day for Rugby. "It has been a special day for the global Rugby family and the young players are very much aware that they have been making history."
"The competition has been close and very exciting and the venue and the teams are telling us that the facilities are wonderful. We are proud to be back on the Olympic stage and Nanjing has made us feel very welcome."
Rugby Canada star and double Winter Olympic gold medallist Heather Moyse was in attendance in her role as an IOC Athlete Role Model and was delighted by what she had seen.
"This is a great moment for Rugby and for these young players. Being a part of the Youth Olympics will help take Rugby to new audiences, while being in the Olympic environment will be a very positive experience for our future stars."
Every try, tackle and pass from the men’s and women’s Rugby Sevens events at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games will be available live and on demand at Olympic.tv.
Fans can follow all the action and join the conversation @IRBSevens.