Olympics hailed as ‘seminal moment’ for women’s rugby

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The Rugby Paper, in England, said the tournament was a 'seminal moment in the development of Women's Rugby'.

 

It was 'a joyous tournament that excited rugby followers around the world and absolutely cemented Sevens' position as a core team sport at the modern day Olympics.'

 

"Any one of the four semi-finalists would have been worthy winners and rather wonderfully that includes the Fiji team who took bronze just five years after the women's programme was formed on their island nation – the first Olympic medals ever won by a Fijian woman," it said.

 

"The athletic, skilful, and gritty Fijian women lit up the competition but, ultimately, it was a well-drilled and very pacy New Zealand team that saved their best for last and deservedly took gold with a 26-12 win over France in the final."

The final day of play was described by the paper as 'tumultuous'. It was watched by IOC president Thomas Bach, 'who must have been left wondering why it took his organisation so long to get rugby back into the Olympics.'

 

"It started with marginal favourites New Zealand scraping into the final with a golden point extra-time try by Gayle Broughton to beat the Fijians 22-17," it said.

 

The tournament had taken off on the second day, although New Zealand's come from behind win over Britain, who started with three unanswered tries, before New Zealand came back to win 26-21, had lit up the first day.

 

But after New Zealand disposed of the Russia Olympic Committee team twice, Fiji secured their sensational 14-12 win over Australia to advance. Britain headed the United States while China pushed France in their quarterfinal.

 

"An absolutely riveting tournament, rugby of the highest quality, with the mix of old world powers and emerging nations and underdogs competing, for once, pretty much on a level playing field," it said.

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