Tokyo Olympics: New Zealand beats France to clinch gold in women's rugby sevens

New Zealand won a gold medal that was five years in the making with a 26-12 win over France on Saturday in the women’s rugby sevens title at the Tokyo Olympics.

Team New Zealand celebrate after defeating Team France in the Women’s Rugby Sevens Gold Medal match.   -  Getty Images

New Zealand won a gold medal that was five years in the making with a 26-12 win over France on Saturday in the women’s rugby sevens title at the Tokyo Olympics.

New Zealand lost the 2016 final to Australia when rugby sevens made its Olympic debut at Rio de Janeiro, but have been dominant ever since.

The New Zealanders entered the Olympics as the world sevens series and World Cup Sevens champions but had some close calls on the way to the final, including a golden-point, extra time semifinal win over Fiji.

The French, who were unbeaten in their first five games in Tokyo, trailed after the first minute and couldn't quite match the intensity of the Black Ferns.

READ: COVID-hit Fiji celebrates Olympic rugby sevens gold  

Alowesi Nakoci scored two tries and made two try-saving tackles as Fiji beat Britain 21-12 in the bronze medal playoff. It was the first Olympic medal ever for Fijian women. The Fijian men's team has won back-to-back Olympic titles.

There were two new countries on the podium in the women's tournament, with 2016 gold medalist Australia finishing fifth and Canada, the bronze medalist in Rio, failing to reach the quarterfinals.

The Australians had a 17-7 win over the U.S. women to clinch fifth a day after the Americans rallied from 12 points down to win their group-stage decider.

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