Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Home News Fiji defeats New Zealand, Clinches Back-to-Back Gold Medals in Rugby 7s

Fiji defeats New Zealand, Clinches Back-to-Back Gold Medals in Rugby 7s

Fiji wins gold at Tokyo Olympics. Image: World Rugby

World Rugby, Tokyo  — Fiji maintain their dominance of the Olympic Rugby Sevens with a comprehensive 27-12 gold medal win over New Zealand at the Tokyo Stadium, retaining the title they won in Rio five years ago.

The Flying Fijians blitzed the All-Blacks early in the first half, scoring a pair of tries in under three minutes. Two mistakes from New Zealand gave Fiji the ball in their own end, and Ratu Meli Derenalagi and Sireli Maqala took full advantage. Jiuta Wainiqolo, the “Magic Mustache,” added Fiji’s third first-half try.

New Zealand responded, however, with two tries of their own courtesy of powerful sprints from team captain Scott Curry and Sione Molia to enter the halftime break trailing 19-12.

Midway through a second half filled with palpable intensity, Asaeli Tuivuaka finished off a try as Fiji battered New Zealand down the field.

A late penalty conversion for Fiji brought the final tally to 27-12. At the final whistle, the Fijians fell to their knees as tears of pride flowed.

Fiji have extended their unbeaten run in Olympic competition to 12 games out of 12.

Final Standings. Image: World Rugby.

The classification for ninth-12th was completed in the morning session, with Kenya beating Ireland 22-0 for ninth place and 2016 semifinalist Japan finally getting a win to finish off a disappointing campaign at the Tokyo Games — albeit to avoid last place with a 31-19 comeback over South Korea.

Five years after finishing fourth in Rio, Japan kicked off its home Olympic tournament with a narrow loss to Fiji. Winger Lote Tuqiri said the ban on spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic and the competition draw — Day 1 games against Fiji and Britain — hurt the host team.

“Seems like we played our final in the first game,” he said.