New Zealand Women’s Rugby Sevens Grab Gold
The New Zealand women’s rugby sevens team won gold on Saturday, beating France, 26-12.
Fiji beat Great Britain to win the bronze medal. The US women’s team, which had hoped to be in contention for a medal, lost to Australia 17-7 and finished in sixth place, as did the US men’s team.
It was a close game for the gold medal at the start. The French tied an early try from New Zealand but missed the drag conversion, 7-5. New Zealand added a try when Gayle Broughton dove head first over the baseline just off the left flag, and they took a 19-5 lead just before halftime with a another try and a conversion.
The French reduced their lead to 19-10 with a 90-second try in the second half. But New Zealand added another with less than three minutes to go to widen the lead again.
New Zealand won silver at the Rio Games in 2016, the first Olympiad to include rugby sevens.
The US men’s and women’s teams were ranked second in the world in 2019 and spent much of 2020 in isolation. They were able to travel to Spain this year and participated in a tournament in Los Angeles. But the lack of competition may have hurt.
This was no excuse for Chris Brown, the head coach of the US women’s team.
“Quite honestly if you look at the quarterfinals where we missed our opportunity, a lot of it came down to low tackling rate defensively, but also a bad game plan on my part on how to attack them in the first two minutes. Brown said. “And that puts me off, because we’ve played nine quarter-finals in the last year, and it’s the first we’ve lost.”
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