Rio Olympics 2016: Silver for GB as Fiji win sevens gold

Great Britain finished with silver in the inaugural men's rugby sevens as Fiji beat them 43-7 to claim gold - the country's first ever Olympic medal.

Pre-tournament favourites Fiji were imperious from the opening whistle.

They dominated possession and ran in five tries by the break, Jerry Tuwai, Osea Kolinisau, Leone Nakarawa, Jasa Veremalua and Vatemo Ravouvou crossing.

Britain looked shell-shocked and Fiji added two more tries, with Dan Norton's score little consolation for GB.

The silver was Great Britain's 16th medal at Rio.

South Africa beat Japan to win bronze as rugby made its first Olympic appearance since the 15-a-side version appeared at the 1924 Games, although this time in the truncated form of the game which has fewer players and much shorter matches.

Great Britain were unbeaten in the competition going into the final, which they reached with a narrow 7-5 win over second seeds South Africa.

Fiji started the tournament as top seeds after winning the previous two World Series championships, while the British side came together as a team in May.

The South Pacific island nation's first Olympic medal was celebrated wildly at the final whistle in front of the country's prime minister Frank Bainimarama.

The Fiji players, renowned for both their humility and size, kneel to receive their medals from the Princess Royal
The Fiji players, renowned for both their humility and size, kneeled to receive their medals from the Princess Royal

'Fiji will be under siege now'

"I'm smiling - it probably stops me from crying," said Fiji's London-born coach Ben Ryan, who confirmed after his team's win that he will be stepping down.

"The team saved the best until last. They played some staggeringly good stuff. We wanted to showcase the way Fijian sport can be played and wanted to put smiles on everyone's faces.

"We made it our point that we were going to enjoy this because that's the best way we play.

"The entire population - towns and villages - will be under siege in Fiji now.

"I'll consider what I do now, but Fiji sevens always knew I'd step away for a while now. But hey, I'll be the first Fiji sevens coach to not be sacked."

Fiji captain Osea Kolinisau: "I told the boys when we were up at the podium: is this even happening? Are we gold medal winners?

"I never dreamt of being an Olympian let alone being a medallist, let alone being a gold medallist."

On their celebration plans: "McDonald's. We've been seeing it in the Olympic Village but we weren't allowed to go.

"The boys have been saying, 'OK, you stay there, McDonald's. When we finish here we are coming for you.' I'm really looking forward to having a Big Mac right now."

Team GB's Tom Mitchell reacts with despair as Vatemo Ravouvou scores for Fiji
Fiji players celebrate after adding another try on their way to winning Fiji's first medal in Olympic history

Analysis - Sevens has made its mark

BBC Sport's Luke Reddy in Rio

Sevens has come, gone and undoubtedly left a positive mark on Rio 2016.

The thrill and freshness of the women's competition - won by a well drilled Australia side - was built upon as the men rolled in and Fiji were simply a class apart.

Drilled, banned from alcohol and on a mobile phone ban as per coach Ben Ryan's rules, Fiji's first Olympic medal provides World Rugby with a fairytale ending to the sport's position on this new platform.

Their masterclass in the final left Team GB wanting but for a side only put together in late May, GB surpassed expectations.

Even players' family members told me they did not expect a silver medal.

It seems everyone is happy then and this Deodoro venue will now miss the vibrant nature of sevens as the Games progress.

Reaction from social media

Mike Brown
England full-back Mike Brown congratulated Fiji
Danny Care
England scrum-half Danny Care sent his congratulations to Fiji and their British coach
Jason Robinson
England 2003 World Cup winner Jason Robinson also praised Fiji and coach Ben Ryan
Nemani Naldo
Fiji 15-a-side winger Nemani Nadolo led the calls for Hollywood to get cracking
Fiji netball
The victory was deliriously received on the island itself

Beaumont praises rugby Rio inclusion

Fans at rugby sevens
The rugby sevens event drew enthusiastic crowds in Rio

Rugby sevens' first appearance in the Olympics Games has been "fantastic", according to World Rugby president and former England captain Bill Beaumont.

The sport's inclusion in the Games has been widely praised, while golf has seen its Olympic return in Rio surrounded by controversy.

"It has just been such a fantastic six days," Beaumont said.

"In rugby, we tend to think that we know it all, and you come to events that are far bigger than anything we would normally stage, and to be a part of it has just been fantastic.

"Also, for us to show the Olympic family what we can do with our sport, and in a market that wouldn't be a traditional rugby market.

"We've had an opportunity, and we thank the IOC for that."

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