Defending champions Australia were knocked out of medal contention on day two of the women’s Olympic sevens tournament at Tokyo Stadium as Fiji secured a stunning 14-12 win in the quarter-finals.
Australia were hoping to repeat their gold medal performance from Rio 2016 but lost their final match of the pool stage against the USA, also 14-12, before Fiji overpowered them in the afternoon session.
Tries from Alowesi Nakoci and Ana Maria Naimasi gave the Fijiana a 14-0 lead with less than four minutes gone, and although Faith Nathan and Charlotte Caslick crossed in the second half the Australians could not reel them in.
WHAT A PERFORMANCE FROM FIJI! 🇫🇯— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) July 30, 2021
They've knocked out the 2016 gold medallists and are heading to the semi-finals 🔥
Sevens at #Tokyo2020 keeps on delivering! 🙌#HowWeSevens | #Rugby pic.twitter.com/h0k1z8GB5x
It means a new women’s Olympic sevens champion will be crowned in Tokyo, and Fiji will take on New Zealand in the first medal semi-final at 11:00 local time (GMT+9) hoping to emulate their male counterparts.
New Zealand booked their place in the last four with a comfortable 36-0 defeat of the Russian Olympic Committee team (ROC). Portia Woodman scored two of the Black Ferns Sevens’ six tries, while Michaela Blyde took her tally for the tournament to six.
Jasmine Joyce, meanwhile, scored a try in each half to help Great Britain into the medal semi-finals with a 21-12 win over the USA.
Joyce crossed either side of an Abbie Brown effort to give her side a 21-0 lead, which Great Britain were able to defend despite late tries from Kristi Kirshe and Naya Tapper.
France stand between Great Britain and the gold medal match after they recovered from conceding the first try against China to win their medal quarter-final 24-10.
Tang Minglin’s two tries came at the beginning and the end of the match, but in-between time France secured victory thanks to scores from Séraphine Okemba (two), Caroline Drouin and Anne-Cécile Ciofani.
Canada missed out on the medal quarter-finals on points scored, but they made sure they would contest the ninth-place play-off with a 45-0 defeat of Brazil in Friday’s second session.
Charity Williams was the star of the show as she became the first Canadian woman to score an Olympic hat-trick, while Karen Paquin (twice), Britt Benn and Julia Greenshields also crossed during a dominant performance.
Kenya will play Canada on day three after Camilla Atieno scored on the final play of their fifth-place semi-final against Japan to secure a 21-17 win.
The hosts led 17 -14 when the hooter sounded to signal the end of the match but Kenya managed to regain possession following a scrum and punched a hole in the Japanese defence that Atieno exploited.
France secure top spot in Pool B
Okemba gave France the perfect start at Tokyo Stadium when she touched down after just 60 seconds, and Ciofani and Jade Ulutule both went over as Les Bleues built a 19-0 lead at the break.
Canada worked hard to find a way back into the match, but France held firm and added gloss to an impressive victory when Carla Neisen and Chloe Jacquet crossed in the final two minutes.
In the opening match of the day, Reapi Ulunisau became the first player, male or female, to score four tries in an Olympic sevens match as Fiji qualified for the medal quarter-finals with a 41-5 win over Brazil.
Bianca Silva scored the first try of the match, but it appeared to jolt the Fijiana into life as Nakoci went over and Ulunisau added two more tries before half-time.
Fiji dominated the second half and improved their points difference as Naimasi, Ulunisau (twice) and Laisana Likuceva all crossed the whitewash.
To put Ulunisau’s haul into some context, no Fijian player had previously scored an Olympic hat-trick in either the men’s or women’s tournaments.
USA beat Australia, China make last eight
Australia, who drew with the USA in the pool stage of Rio 2016, built a 12-0 lead as Sharni Williams and Demi Hayes touched down either side of half-time.
But, Cheta Emba gave the USA hope with just over four minutes remaining before co-captain Abby Gustaitis profited from a Caslick fumble to score under the posts and complete a memorable comeback.
Less than 30 seconds were on the clock when Xu Xiaoyan crossed for her first try of the match, and Wang Wanyu added a second before Xu completed her brace.
Tang Minglin powered over after the break to make the score 24-0, and there was still time for Yang Feifei to add a stunning fifth try for China.
New Zealand, Great Britain and ROC through from Pool A
Joyce scored two of Great Britain’s five tries as they confirmed their place in the medal quarter-finals with a 31-0 defeat of Kenya on day two.
Winger Joyce made Kenya pay for kicking to her in the second minute as she span away from two defenders to score in the left corner. Abi Burton added a second from close range before Joyce completed her brace on the stroke of half-time.
Kenya remained committed in the second half, but Great Britain made sure of victory with tries from Megan Jones and Lisa Thomson.
New Zealand remain unbeaten in the tournament so far after they beat the ROC 33-0 in a lightning-delayed final match of the pool stage.
Ruby Tui scored two tries in the first half to give the Black Ferns Sevens a 14-0 lead at the interval. Woodman crossed for her 12th Olympic try early in the second half, before Stacey Fluhler touched down twice in the closing stages.
The ROC ended on the same points difference and try difference as Canada, but qualified for the medal quarter-finals as they had scored more points than the North Americans across the pool stage.