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Rio 2016 Olympics Rampant Fiji take sevens gold in double first

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said he hoped the gold medal would raise the profile of the melanesian archipelago.

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Rugby -  Men's Victory Ceremony play Team Fiji pose for photos with their gold medals. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)

Fiji produced a breathtaking performance that epitomised the pace, power and skill of their distinctive brand of rugby to become the first men's Olympic sevens champions on Thursday, giving the Pacific island nation its first Games medal.

Facing Britain in the final of the inaugural tournament, the Fijians ran rampant with five tries in the first half before taking their collective foot of the gas a little and adding only two more after the break to seal a 43-7 victory.

Skipper Osea Kolinisau, Jerry Tuwai, Jasa Veremalua, Leone Nakarawa, Vatemo Ravouvou, Josua Tuisova and Viliame Mata all scored tries as Fiji collected its first Olympic title at its 14th Games.

Their mission complete, the Fijian players, many of them in tears, linked arms in a circle on the halfway line and sang together with eyes raised up to the dark skies above.

"We wanted to show people the way we play, the Fijian way," said coach Ben Ryan.

"We were lucky enough to pull it off in such spectacular fashion."

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, who was present at the final as he has been throughout the tournament, said he hoped the gold medal would raise the profile of the melanesian archipelago.

"The brand of rugby that we played today hopefully will put Fiji on the map, little tiny dot," he said.

"People will now start looking for that dot."


The shellshocked British failed to even get out of their own half in the opening period and when Dan Norton finally touched down for their only score it was only ever going to be a consolation.

"They just attacked everything, they went for everything and it all paid off," said Britain's James Rodwell.

"They're one of the best there is. They've won the world series for the last two years and now they've added an Olympic gold medal so credit to them, they had an absolute blinder."

Japan's remarkable run at the tournament, which included victories over the All Blacks and France, came to an end with defeat to the Fijians in the semi-finals earlier on Thursday.

Their hopes of having a bronze medal to show for their giantkilling exploits were crushed by South Africa, who ran out 54-14 winners in a similarly lopsided opening medal match.

South Africa's bronze was the first men's rugby medal won at the Olympics since the 1924 Paris Games, where the United States won gold in the 15-a-side game.

New Zealand, who have dominated sevens for much of the last two decades but were sent out of the tournament by the Fijians in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, finished fifth.

World Rugby officials were delighted with the success of the six-day tournament, from which Australia took home the women's title, and confident the sport had done enough to remain in the Games beyond Tokyo 2020.

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