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Hong Kong Sevens champions Fiji complete Rio rout of Great Britain to claim historic first Olympic gold

Fiji deliver on the biggest stage, bringing home the country’s first-ever Olympic medals with a 43-7 dismantling of surprise finalists Team GB

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 August, 2016, 7:19am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2016, 5:31pm

Fiji delivered on the biggest stage, bringing home the country’s first ever Olympic medals – and ones of shiny gold – as rugby capped its triumphant return to the Games after a 92-year absence.

Deodoro Stadium, a temporary structure surrounded by barracks and military grounds on the northern outskirts of Rio felt like a corner of Suva, the islanders’ capital, as they hammered Great Britain 43-7.

There were plenty of British fans among the 12,000-odd present, but they were completely drowned out as everybody’s second favourite team brought their stunning brand of rugby familiar to Hong Kong Sevens fans to a global audience.

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If there were any pre-match nerves or worries that they wouldn’t deliver as the entire nation watched at home, those were quickly eliminated as Fiji came storming at Britain straight from kick-off. And if GB got out of their own half in the first period, they certainly didn’t do it more than once.

Captain Kolinisau got Fiji off the mark after they came out like a hurricane, steaming over after some trademark rapid-fire offloading, planting the ball backwards behind his head as he was dragged over the line by a last-ditch tackle.

“Go Fiji Go” was the cry from almost everyone in the stadium and Fiji went, Jerry Tuwai doubling the lead a couple of minutes later as GB struggled to get near their opponents.

Britain almost got out of their own half, but gave the ball away with a wild pass, and Jasa Veremalua ensured they were punished.

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Straight from kick-off, Leone Nakarawa made it 22-0 with the team’s fourth try, and there was still time in the half for Vatemo Ravouvou to add number five. Twenty-nine points to nil after 10 minutes and Britain wandered off for the break in a total daze.

Fiji actually let GB have the ball for four minutes or so in the second half, not that they did anything with it, before Veremalua decided it was time for another score and monstered through.

The subs were congratulating each other on the bench, with Nakarawa in tears.

Dan Norton did get one back, with Fiji starting to imagine the medal ceremony, but too little too late was putting it mildly – and with seconds to go Viliame Mata decided to kick some more sand in GB’s face.

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Meanwhile, Japan, who had been comfortably dealt with by Fiji in the semis, were denied bronze in the third-place match by South Africa.

A medal would have been a sensational boost to the game in Japan, the hosts of the next summer Olympics, but Rosco Specman and his teammates couldn’t have cared less about that. He scored a hat-trick as Japan were thrashed in the second half, having held their own in the first, for a 52-14 loss.