What drama and theatre have we seen over the last few days at the greatest show on Earth? There has been devastation and delight across the disciplines but obviously I have been keeping a keen eye on the 7’s rugby.
It was unfortunate for the GB women that they didn’t medal, but they came up against some pretty strong competitors along the way. The Australian team oozed class throughout the tournament, and you could never really see them letting that guard slip as things progressed. They came in to the tournament as favourites, but you would never write off New Zealand as underdogs in any game of rugby. The Aussie grit came through though and it is always good to see strong competition in a tightly contested final.
That bronze medal spot was always going to be up for grabs for a number of teams, and after GB had managed to put in a solid 22-0 victory over Canada in the pool stages, you would be forgiven for thinking that they should be able to put in the same shift in the medal match. On the day though, when you are under the spotlight, the pressure is on and the expectations of a nation weighs heavy on your shoulders, it is all too easy to lose sight of the finishing line. A good performance on the whole, but just a little short of the requirement to get on the podium this time.
The men’s team have been in some real scrapes on their way to the to the final and have produced some real “edge of the seat” moments with a two-point squeeze on Japan and then to clinch an extra time victory over Argentina with a five points to nil victory was just incredible. Only one other side made it undefeated to the final and that of course was the unstoppable Fijians. What a performance from those guys! For so many nip and tuck games to go before the final and then to blow Great Britain off the park was just unreal, nobody likes to see the home nations take a rattling from the opposition, but it was easy to see the hunger in the Fijian team who were hunting for their first ever medal in the Olympic games and you just knew from the whistle that only one team were walking off that pitch with the top prize in hand.
I was pleased to see local lad Dan Norton making a big impact in the side especially as we have to remember that this was a group of players put together at the 11th hour and given the opportunity to represent our country at the highest level. They did a fantastic job and we should all be proud of the silverware, especially considering we overcame some of the stiffest competitors in the game of 7’s to get there. Well done boys, enjoy.
Congratulations again to Fiji who have shown the true spirit of what the game and indeed the games are all about, I expect there will be some partying going on for a good few days. Banks are closed, schools are shut and they are going to make the most of this historic moment. No one deserved the gold medal more on the day.
Are we going to see 7’s rugby in the Olympics again? You bet we are.