New Zealand fight back to secure women’s rugby sevens gold
The Black Ferns beat France to complete a perfect run in the women’s rugby sevens tournament at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 on Monday 15 October. They were made to work for their gold medal at the Club Atlético San Isidro, however, squeezing to a narrow 15-12 win over a valiant Bleues side. It was France’s second rugby silver of the YOG, with their men finishing runners-up to Argentina. In the battle for bronze, meanwhile, Canada got the better of Colombia.
Kicking off their campaign with a 53-0 defeat of Tunisia, New Zealand eased to four more comfortable wins to top the women’s section with a 100% record. Facing them in Monday’s final were pool runners-up France, and it looked as if the women in black would coast to another emphatic victory when tries from Montessa Tairakena and Iratana Hoaia shot them into a 10-0 lead after only four minutes.
France hit back through a converted Alycia Christiaens try three minutes later and then moved ahead when Lucy Hapulat dotted down for another try two minutes into the second half. The Black Ferns were not to be denied, though, with Mahina Paula going over for the gold medal-winning try two minutes later.
Speaking afterwards, New Zealand’s Tiana Davison described how the tournament favourites managed to turn the game around: “Whenever we lose momentum we get together, take three deep breaths and get in a huddle. It’s our way of keeping calm and trying to regroup as sisters and connect with each other as the All Blacks we are. But today we had to take six deep breaths. We did three extra ones just to make sure that everything was in place.
“It’s an unreal feeling to be with these girls. It’s just amazing. I love it,” she added. “We really came into our own in the heat here today. It’s been great. We’re like sisters. We’ve got a great rapport and that’s allowed us to work together and reach the top with this great result. Now it’s time for us to go and party!”
Canada edged out Colombia 24-19 in an exciting bronze medal match, with Carmen Izyk scoring the winning try for the Canadians with less than a minute left on the clock.