Fiji retain title with emphatic victory over New Zealand

Up for grabs: New Zealand’s Andrew Knewstubb (right) is tackled by Fiji’s Mele Derenalagi in the final. — AFP

TOKYO: Fiji maintained 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.

Argentina claimed the bronze with a 17-12 victory over Britain, sparking wild scenes of celebration, and plenty of tears, at the final whistle.

But it was Fiji’s day as they ran in four tries to cap an excellent tournament.

“I’m very proud. It means a lot to me and the boys, and for all the people back home who have been going through the pandemic. It is a really big thing for all of us in Fiji,” Sireli Maqala said.

New Zealand co-captain Tim Mikkelson admits the silver medal is a “bitter-sweet” moment.

“It’s pretty disappointing to take it this far and not to win. We had our opportunities out there. Credit to Fiji, they took theirs, and we didn’t,” he said.

“With the Covid-19 situation, we weren’t sure for a long time if we were going to get here at all. It has been an amazing experience, but it is bitter-sweet.”

The women’s Sevens competition starts today at the same venue and will conclude with the gold medal match on Saturday. — Reuters

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