Australia 7s lose to Fiji, medal hopes gone

Fiji's Jerry Tuwai is tackled by Lachlan Anderson of Australia Stephen McCarthy/Getty Images

Australia's men will miss the medals in Tokyo after their attempts to crack Fiji's defence proved futile in a frustrating 19-0 rugby sevens quarter-final loss.

After sneaking into the final eight, the inconsistent Australian side had every chance of pulling off an upset against the defending Olympic champions on Tuesday when they trailed 7-0 with three minutes to play.

But they were unable to trouble the scorers, Lachie Anderson's dropped ball over the line at the end of the first half their only clear-cut chance despite Australia creating a wealth of opportunities through their improved defence.

Fiji captain Jerry Tuwai twice skipped through tired tackles for the decisive tries to end Australia's hopes for a medal.

"Not just my family, my wife and kids, and all of our dads and mums, but Fiji as a whole," the skipper said when asked who he was playing for.

"We are suffering a lot with the pandemic right now and that's what matters to us ... we are playing for our god and we are trying to bring happiness to our country.

"Rugby is the national sport of Fiji. Defending the gold would be something else - I think we would forget about the pandemic.

"Everyone would be shouting and happy. But we have a big task ahead. Our focus is on Argentina in the semifinal at the moment."

Now able to finish fifth at best, Australia will play South Africa on Wednesday morning after the Blitzboks were upset by an Argentinian side who lost a man to a red card in the first half.

New Zealand beat Canada 21-10 and Britain scored late to pip the United States 26-21 in the other quarter-finals.

Earlier in the day Australia lost 14-12 to New Zealand in their final pool game, when a win would have seen them avoid the sevens heavyweights until later in the tournament.

But they only had themselves to blame for their position, an error-riddled 29-19 loss to Argentina on Monday that featured four first-half tries setting the tone for their frustrating campaign.

Australia's women will begin their title defence on Thursday.