New Zealand defeated France on Saturday 26-12 to win a five-year gold medal for the women’s rugby sevens title at the Tokyo Olympics.
New Zealand lost to Australia at the Rugby Sevens Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in the 2016 final, but then dominated.
The New Zealanders entered the Olympics as World Sevens Series and World Cup Sevens champions, but there were some tight calls for the final, in which the semi-final match was won by Golden Point in extra time. Against Fiji.
The French, who had not lost in the first five games in Tokyo, fell behind in the first minute and did not match the intensity of the Black Ferns.
After the French closed the gap to two points thanks to an attempt by Caroline Ruin, Michael Blythe scored for New Zealand in the first minute, which was mostly one-sided.
Player Portia Woodman retired, but was sent off for a penalty, which led to a goal by Gayle Bratton in the left corner.
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Stacy Fler Hler ran from an internal angle to score under the fifth attempt of the game to give New Zealand a 19-5 lead at half-time. Ann-Sicily Schofani scored and converted for France, again tying up Tyla Nathan-Wong to ensure victory.
When Fiji beat Great Britain 21-12 for the bronze medal, Aloha Nakoshi scored two tries and two tries. This is the first Olympic medal for Fiji women. The Fijian men’s team has won consecutive Olympic titles.
“After we went there as a team, I think we deserved it,” Fijian player Viniana Rivai said of the bronze.
The Fijian team has been in a camp since the first week of April, unable to see family as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in their Pacific island nation.
“We are interested in what is happening in Fiji right now,” Rivoi said. “We dreamed of it. We will never forget that moment.”
Two new nations entered the women’s stage, with Australia finishing fifth and Canada, winning a bronze medal in Rio, not advancing to the quarterfinals.
The Australians were fifth with a 17-7 win over the Americans on a day when the Americans were down 12 points to win their group stage final.
China, who made their debut in the Rugby Sevens, have joined two attempts to beat Russia 22-10 in the seventh-place playoffs between the two countries.
The two new teams beat Canada 24-10 to finish ninth. Brazil finished last, beating Japan 21-12.
The Japanese women’s team built a fort, paid homage to the main stand and received decent applause. It was a tough game for the Japanese who could not use their home advantage to improve their performance in Brazil.
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