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GOLD to Fiji in Olympic Rugby 7s

Fiji defended their rugby sevens title with an action-packed 27-12 victory over New Zealand at the Tokyo Stadium on Wednesday.

Fiji’s players react after winning the men’s final rugby sevens match between New Zealand and Fiji during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo on July 28, 2021. Ben STANSALL / AFP

Fiji, who had beaten Argentina 26-14 in the semi-final, led 19-12 at half-time thanks to three tries from Meli Derenalagi, Sireli Maqala and Jiuta Wainiqolo.

New Zealand, who had outmuscled Great Britain 29-7 in the other semi-final, responded through Scott Curry and Sione Molia.

But a fourth try by Asaeli Tuivuaka and a time-eating Waisea Nacuqu penalty on the hooter ensured gold for the South Pacific islanders.

In the bronze medal match, Argentina beat Britain 17-12 in a hard-fought match.

Rio bronze medallists South Africa finished fifth in the placings after beating the United States 28-7.

-AFP

Fiji to play for gold in Olympic rugby sevens final

Sireli Maqala (front, L) of Fiji competes with Rodrigo Isgro (front, R) of Argentina during Rugby Seven Men’s semifinal match between Fiji and Argentina at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Credit: Xue Yubin / XINHUA / Xinhua via AFP

Semi Radradra scored the decisive try as defending champions Fiji set up an Olympic rugby sevens final against New Zealand at the Tokyo Stadium on Wednesday.

Fiji, running a solid defensive pattern, ran out 26-14 winners over Argentina, who had surprisingly knocked out Rio bronze medallists South Africa in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

New Zealand outmuscled Great Britain 29-7 in the other semi-final. The British team will play Argentina in the bronze medal match.

Sireli Maqala, with strong fends off each hand, bundled over for Fiji’s opening try at a baking Tokyo Stadium, with temperatures of 33 degrees Celsius (91 Fahrenheit) and 75 percent humidity.

That was quickly followed by Meli Derenalagi, who pounced on a ball that shot out unguarded from an Argentinian ruck.

Speedster Marcos Moneta, part of the Argentina team that won gold at the Youth Olympics in 2018, scored his fifth try of the tournament after picking a good line to bring Los Pumas back into the game.

After winning the restart, Argentina moved the ball to the left, where Ignacio Mendy was on hand to dot down, a touchline conversion by Santiago Mare securing his team a 14-12 half-time lead.

But Fiji did not panic, Jiuta Wainiqolo restoring his team’s lead after a smart offload that saw him sprint in from halfway.

Radradra, who has lit up the European rugby scene with Toulon, Bordeaux-Begles and current club Bristol, then settled the contest with his first touch after coming on.

Showing his X-factor value, the 15s star stepped German Schulz for a straightforward run-in against a tiring Argentina side.

Playing All Blacks is tough

“I’m getting used to this now,” said Radradra. “We started slow in our first two games, we finally got everything back last night” with a 19-0 quarter-final win over Australia.

“The All Blacks are coming up, it will be hard, we’ll try to give the same intensity.”

Asked about New Zealand’s potential threats, the barn-storming centre replied: “Everyone in their team!

“Playing the ABs is tough. We’re going to try to stick in our system, our own way, and hopefully we can defend them and hopefully give them a good match.”

New Zealand, long the dominant force in world sevens, showed all their experience from the kick-off, keeping possession from Britain for a full three minutes before Scott Curry darted over from a tryline ruck.

Britain hit back through Dan Norton, the top try-scorer on the World Rugby Sevens Series showing the Kiwi defence a clean pair of heels.

Regan Ware restored New Zealand’s lead after a jinking Andrew Knewstubb had drawn Norton off his wing.

Ware crossed for his second halfway into the second period, pouncing on a clever basketball-like bouncing pass from a ground-bound Tim Mikkelson to scoot in unmolested.

It was game over from the restart as Dylan Collier regathered Knewstubb’s drop-kick to sprint in for the Kiwis’ fourth try.

Curry muscled his way from short distance for his second try to rub salt into the wounds of an outplayed Britain team.

“It is huge. It is what we came here for, to be in this position. We are really excited by the opportunity ahead of us now,” said Curry, with the team having been eliminated in the quarter-finals in Rio, so missing out on a podium.

“We’ll get a good nap in this afternoon in the A/C (air conditioning), cool down a bit and get ready for the next one.”

-AFP

3 Comments
  1. Chandra Prakash 10 months ago
    Reply

    Congratulations biys for the superb win and making Fiji proud again with back to backhoes medal win.
    You are the best

  2. Eroni Sauvakacolo 10 months ago
    Reply

    Thank You so much for the win….you guys remined the whole country that through personal sacrifices,perseverance and hard work we can overcome…this win has brought HOPE that we can also win from the current COVID 19 Pandemic.
    Thanks also to the coaching staff,players families and the people behind the scenes for your support support and contributions that GOLDEN DISPLAY IN TOKYO

  3. Paula Vuli 10 months ago
    Reply

    Congratulations for your victory which we the people of Fiji are proud of your achievement.GB

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