Fiji 'party' after first Olympic medal

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 07:58

REACTION: Fiji came to a standstill as their Sevens team gave a seven-try masterclass against Britain and secured the Pacific island's first Olympic medal.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama ordered 'national celebrations' over the 43-7 win over the British in the Olympic Sevens Final - led by captain Osea Kolinisau - that stunned the Deodoro stadium with its severity.

"It's an awesome feeling to be a Fijian right now," Bainimarama said after watching the game.

"They played some awesome rugby. The coach and the players have worked at this day for months and they've done it.

"Nobody is at work, universities have been given time off and the Pacific Island Forum meeting has been postponed. Nobody has been at work for the last few days.

"We're looking at putting a celebration together," added the Prime Minister.

He hailed Fiji's English coach Ben Ryan as "an icon back home."

"We were an average team before he came in and he lifted the level. Everybody loves Ben."

Ryan acclaimed his team's gold as just reward for a country obsessed with rugby Sevens.

"The island won't be having parties in sporadic parts of the country, it will be across the entire nation, 355 islands, and it will continue for some time," he predicted.

"The boys are front page, back page news, 6 o'clock news, you come out of the airport there's a 20-foot billboard of them and that continues all the way through [the country].

"They're superstars in Fiji. I could have an hour's drive to work and I'll see 50 villages all playing one-touch rugby. It's a passion, it's a national sport."

Fiji skipper Kolinisau said everything had gone to plan for the double defending World Sevens Series champions.

"I never dreamt of being an Olympian let alone being a medallist, let alone being a gold medallist," the star playmaker said, adding that he hoped Ryan would stay on as coach.

"It's a massive achievement to get a medal. Probably when we wake up tomorrow, it will dawn on us what we've achieved here."

Fiji jetted out to a 29-0 lead after the opening 10 minutes, Kolinisau, Jerry Tuwai, Jasa Veremalua, Leone Nakarawa and Vatemo Ravouvou all scoring.

Josua Tuisova and Mata Viliame added to that tally in the second period with Dan Norton grabbing a consolation try for Britain.

"We wanted to stay on our feet, keep the ball alive and hit them hard," Ryan said. Fiji targeted the "branches, not roots" of the British team to avoid being sucked into a contact game.

Britain joined the praise for the Pacific islanders.

Britain coach Simon Amor said Fiji's gold was a great result for one of the most consistently exciting proponents of a sport making its Olympic debut. Fifteen a six rugby was played at the 1924 Games.

"It's such a special team," Amor said.

"It's the first time Sevens has been in the Olympics and it's probably right that the team that plays such wonderful rugby gets that opportunity and gets that gold medal.

"They saved their very best until last: brilliant, breathtaking rugby."

Britain captain Tom Mitchell added: "They've shown their pedigree on the World Series in the last couple of years and they're very deserving of that gold medal today, they've been absolutely outstanding."

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Ulster v Treviso 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 18h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Leinster v Dragons 18h35 RDS Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 18h45 Kingston Park
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 18h45 Welford Road
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 25 November 2017
Bath v Harlequins 11h15 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Cardiff
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 17h30 Bloemfontein
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Zebre v Munster 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 14h00 Madejski Stadium
SEVENS
MORE LOGS
Pool 0
Team P W D L Pts
Spain Sevens 0 0 0 0 20
Korea Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool 00
Team P W D L Pts
Chile 0 0 0 1 10
Papua New Guinea 0 1 0 0 1
Pool 19
Team P W D L Pts
England Sevens 0 0 0 0 19
Pool 20
Team P W D L Pts
Uganda Sevens 0 0 0 0 2
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Fiji Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Australia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
France Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Japan Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Kenya Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Russia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool
Team P W D L Pts
Wales Sevens
Hong Kong