Tokyo Olympics: Great Britain finish fourth after Fiji sevens defeat

Tokyo Olympic Games on the BBC
Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
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Great Britain's women's sevens side fell just short of a medal for the second Olympics in a row as a fast, strong Fiji squeezed out a 21-12 win in their bronze-medal match.

Fiji's Alowesi Nakoci scored two first-half tries, with Reapi Ulunisau adding a breakaway score after the break.

Megan Jones scored twice in reply, but ultimately an impressive Fiji proved too good.

Fiji's bronze is the first female medal in the country's Olympic history.

Great Britain lost to Canada at the same stage of the Rio 2016 tournament, while the men's side also finished fourth in their Tokyo campaign.

Both men's and women's sides lost their funding in August. Although a short-term deal with the National Lottery was agreed in December, their preparations have been badly disrupted through a series of Covid lockdowns.

"You can probably tell by all our faces we are absolutely gutted," Jasmine Joyce told BBC Sport.

"As a squad, we're Team GB, we are three different nations, and we have only been together for four or five months. Six months ago, none of us had anything - we didn't have jobs, nothing.

"So to come out here, come fourth and push New Zealand right to the end, beat the USA in the quarter-finals and, unfortunately, lose to Fiji - who are a very good side - I can't be prouder of the girls.

"We've definitely put our programme in a better place. We can call ourselves Olympians."

While the Rugby Football Union and its Scottish and Welsh counterparts have all spoken of plans to continue a sevens programme, nothing has been confirmed beyond Tokyo 2020 with the sport part of the Commonwealth Games in less than a year's time.

Fiji will be part of that competition and showed that they will be a real contender for gold after an impressive end to this campaign.

They finished 10th in the last full World Sevens Series, but beat Rio bronze medallists in the pool stages, knocked out defending champions Australia in the last eight and took eventual winners New Zealand to extra time in their semi-final on their way to a medal in Tokyo.

Fiji's men's side successfully defending their Rio title earlier in the week.

Black Ferns finally land gold

New Zealand win Olympic gold
New Zealand upgraded from a silver medal at Rio 2016

New Zealand justified their status as pre-tournament favourites and vanquished the ghosts of their Rio 2016 final defeat by Australia with a 26-12 over France in the gold-medal match.

The Black Ferns have dominated the women's game in the wake of their Olympic defeat five years ago, winning the past four World Sevens events before the series was suspended in early 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Their pride and passion has been clear in viral post-match interviewsexternal-link during the tournament.

However, France showed they don't have a monopoly on patriotism. The underdogs only qualified for the Games via a repechage tournament in June, and Anne-Cecile Ciofani was in tears as La Marseillaise played before the latest chapter of their fairytale run.

It was New Zealand, though, who dissolved in emotion on the final whistle, as the pace and finishing ability of Michaela Blyde, Gayle Broughton and Stacey Fluhler helped them to four tries and an ultimately comfortable win.

Thomas Bach in the crowd
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach was in attendance for a thrilling final day of sevens
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