TODAY |

Black Ferns Sevens claim long-awaited Olympic gold

The Black Ferns Sevens have buried the demons of Rio with a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The New Zealand side beat France in the final 26-12, five years after coming up just short with a silver medal at the 2016 Games.

The Black Ferns Sevens had the first possession in the match and despite starting slowly, managed to convert.

Captain Sarah Hirini made the breakthrough the middle of the field and looked to go alone, but saw the French reining her in and instead found Michaela Blyde, with the speedster running away to open the scoring.

The French looked to respond with a bold tactic, kicking behind the rushing New Zealand defence but it resulted in a penalty for the Kiwis after Blyde was taken out going for the ball.

Despite the penalty, a turnover soon after led to France’s first score as they converted on the counter-attacking opportunity to make the scores 7-5 in New Zealand’s favour.

The Sevens Sisters were quick to respond though, earning another penalty and launching a quick-tap attack from it.

That led to Broughton getting the ball in space on the left wing and she ran in to score with a superb aerial finish.

New Zealand had one last chance to attack after winning a penalty off the restart. The ball made it’s way to Tyla Nathan-Wong in the midfield who put Stacey Fluhler in space with a short ball.

Fluhler scored and the New Zealanders had a 19-5 at the break.

The Black Ferns Sevens celebrate after winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Source: Associated Press

The Black Ferns Sevens got off to a perfect start in the second half, forcing a knock on from the kickoff to give them an early scrum and an attacking opportunity.

The chance went begging with a knock on of their own though as the French defence swarmed the backline.

France executed from their scrum, finding space on the right to score near the corner and push the score back to 19-12 with five minutes left.

New Zealand were back on the attack though with a penalty soon after the restart 40 metres from the French line.

After a patient build-up, Hirini burst through the middle of the field, eventually setting up Nathan-Wong to dart in under the posts to score.

Nathan-Wong then converted her won try to push the score to 26-12 with just two minutes left.

The French looked to mount the comeback but couldn’t escape their own half.

Eventually, Kelly Brazier kicked the ball into touch and with it gave her teammates the pinnacle they’ve fought towards for five years.

"There's so much going through my mind, I'm just so happy," Hirini told Sky Sport after the match.

"Our team has been through so much in the last five years and we're bring home the gold to New Zealand."

Hirini also took a moment to dedicate the result to her late mother who died earlier this year.

"I love you mum, I miss you.

"I'm just so grateful to be part of best team in the world."