New Zealand duly sealed fifth place in the men’s rugby sevens, but it will hardly be cause for joyous celebration in a country so steeped in rugby than anything less than outright triumph is deemed acceptable.
The New Zealand team have had a difficult tournament, with losses to three key players, Sonny Bill Williams, Joe Webber and Scott Curry, biting a hole in the side. However, they have also not played up to their expectations, particularly in their opening match defeat by Japan.
Ironically, New Zealand’s best match was the narrow defeat by Fiji in the quarter-finals. The quality of that New Zealand performance could be assessed by the way Fiji dominated Japan and Great Britain on the final day and won the gold medal.
New Zealand beat France 24-19 and Argentina 17-14 to secure fifth today. Neither match was overly convincing and the New Zealanders were pleased to get through with two wins.
In the semi-finals, Great Britain upset South Africa 7-5 and Fiji were too good for Japan, winning 20-5.
Seeking the glory of being their country’s first Olympic gold medallists, the Fijians were supremely good in the final. The British had no answer and Fiji romped to a 43-7 victory, a result that gave rise to joyous celebrations afterwards.
South Africa played their best match of the tournament to account for Japan 54-14 in the bronze medal match.Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Sonny Bill Williams Joe Webber Scott Curry Rugby - Sevens