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Fiji defend Olympic sevens title after beating New Zealand

Fiji have successfully defended their Olympic men's sevens title, defeating New Zealand 27-12 in Tokyo this evening.

Jiuta Wainiqolo celebrates scoring. Source: Associated Press

Fiji came out firing early. Joe Webber was stripped deep in his own 22m and Fiji quickly shifted it wide to Meli Derenalagi, who dived over in the corner.

Moments later they were in again, winning the ball off the restart and kicking through to the in goal. Andrew Knewstubb was unable to ground the ball, and it rolled out for Sireli Maqala to touch it down.

Fijian rugby stars break down in tears after winning Olympic gold

A stunned New Zealand regained their focus and played a nice wrap around ball to free Scott Curry to run through and score in the right corner.

But Fiji didn’t let up. Jiuta Wainiqolo received the ball on the right wing and decided to test New Zealand’s defence on the outside. The Kiwis couldn’t keep up with the flying Fijian, who scythed through to score a third try in an action-packed first half.

The All Blacks won a penalty at the end of the first period, giving them a chance to reduce the deficit. A sloppy pass ended up in the hands of a determined Sione Molia, who busted his way through multiple defenders to score a valuable try as the siren rang.

Down seven at the restart, the All Blacks won their own kick, but having found themselves with a lineout close to the line, lost the ball, allowing Fiji to counter and charge their way down the field.

They won the ball back, Regan Ware breaking away down the left wing but lost the ball in the tackle, giving the Fijians the ball again.

Fiji came back down the field, and despite some staunch defence, the ball found an unmarked Asaeli Tuivuaka to touch down in the right corner.

A penalty goal wrapped it up in the dying seconds. Fijian players broke down in tears as they realised the enormity of the moment before linking arms and joining each other in prayer and song.

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