New Zealand women win 26-12 against France
Black Ferns win gold medal at Olympic Women’s Sevens
New Zealand women have what they’ve alway craved: an Olympic gold medal in sevens. And they earnt it playing punishing stuff. France have been immaculate all tournament, unbeaten until this final, but the Kiwis were not to be denied, winning 26-12.
The Black Ferns showed their intent from the off, with an impressive kick-off take, strong ruck power, a smart Tyla Nathan-Wong grubber through the middle of the park and a Gayle Broughton take. By the time Sarah Hirini bust up the middle, it opened up for Michaela Blyde to score.
But France showed kicking intent of their own. Anne-Cecile Ciofani hared after a tactical kick-up field, but was penalised for a push on Blyde, who she was in a footrace with. But they held onto the ball later, manipulating space and it was worked to Caroline Drouin who raced in for try of their own. The missed conversion made it 7-5 to the Kiwis.
It was already breathless, brilliant stuff. Then Broughton pulled off an acrobatic finish in the corner. she is known for her peripatetic footwork, but in rounding toward the corner, she took to the air and dotted down mid-flight.
Stacey Fluhler rounded off the scoring for the first half, ensuring it finished 19-5 in Kiwi favour and left France with it all to do.
You will not completely kill off the French, though. From a scrum, Camille Grassineau – who scored the very first Olympic sevens try, back in 2016 – broke and after Seraphine Okemba created the momentum it was eventually worked to Ciofani who went over. After the conversion, it was 19-12.
The pace only picked up. But the Black Ferns kept up the assault, and after Hirini forced the issue from a tap penalty, Theresa Fitzpatrick took it to a whisper from the posts, and Nathan-Wong happily took the pop off the ground and went under those posts. At 26-12, it was all too much from France.
Ruby Tui won a late penalty at the breakdown and from the scrum, it came out to Kelly Brazier who thumped it into touch and the Black Ferns finally celebrated.
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