Australia and France win Youth Olympic gold

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 20 August 2014
 Australia and France win Youth Olympic gold
Australia's golden girls won all seven of their matches in Nanjing

–  First Olympic Rugby medals in 90 years
– Women's 1-2-3: Australia, Canada, China
– Men's 1-2-3: France, Argentina, Fiji
– IOC President Thomas Bach delighted with debut 

Australia's women and France’s men have made history in becoming the first Youth Olympic Games Rugby Sevens gold medallists. 

On debut, Rugby Sevens has been a hit at Nanjing 2014 and in hot and humid conditions a capacity crowd was treated to intense, absorbing and highly-entertaining medal finals that point to a very successful Olympic debut in Rio 2016. 


Australia shine in pulsating gold medal final 

Australia’s women were undefeated heading into the gold final and saved their best until last with a performance of sheer class and determination to win 38-10 against a Canada team that had been on an upward curve throughout the tournament. 

A pulsating final capped a fantastic women’s competition that had proven to be one of the must-see events at the Youth Olympic Games with fans and other athletes alike from all over the world popping into the Rugby Sevens venue to see what the newest Olympic sport is all about.

Australia’s hat-trick scorer and speedster Dom du Toit summed up the emotions within a very happy squad: “It is incredible. It is hard to describe the emotions, but I am part of a very special group of girls who fight for each other every single minute and pick each other up when we are up against it.” 

“This will mean a lot to Australian Rugby, to women’s Rugby and to be able to participate on such a stage is awesome for Rugby around the world.” 

“For some of our squad, Rio is a reality if we qualify, and we are so pleased that Rugby Sevens is now an Olympic sport. The opportunity to represent Australia on the world’s biggest stage is very exciting.” 

While Canada had to be content with silver, they will reflect on a tournament in which they grew in stature and winning silver capped a special week for Canadian Women’s Rugby after their national Fifteens team reached a first Women’s Rugby World Cup final. 

“These are exciting times for Rugby in Canada and I am so proud of the girls. We got better as the event went on and we worked so hard. To be a part of this event, in these Youth Olympics is very special indeed,” said captain Hannah Darling. 

China’s performances were one of the highlights of a women’s competition that saw great geographical representation and on home soil they delighted fans by beating USA 12-0 to win bronze. 

In doing so, they made history by becoming the first Rugby medallist on an Olympic stage for 90 years and try scorer Yueying Gao believes that China’s bronze will be the catalyst to Rugby becoming a mainstream sport in her country. 

“I am very happy that we achieved our mission to win a medal. This is a massive moment for Rugby in China and I hope that it will lead to more boys and girls playing a sport that is a great test of skill, athleticism and character.” 

“We now look forward to attempting to qualify for Rio 2016.”

France claim gold in fantastic men’s final 

France put defeat to Argentina in the pool phase behind them to win a thrilling high-quality sequel in the men’s gold medal match 45-22. 

A match of exceptional skill capped a fine men’s tournament that indicates that the next generation of Rugby Sevens stars are set to light up Rio 2016 and beyond. 

Victory was significant for the French, who believe that the win will deliver a massive boost to Rugby Sevens in France ahead of Olympic Games qualification, which begins in October with the HSBC Sevens World Series. 

Alex Arrate said: “This is a big victory for Rugby Sevens and French Rugby. We have worked very hard for this moment and prepared in the Alps. This is a special group of players and we are excited about the future.” 

Silver medallist Indalecio Ledesma was proud of what his Argentina team had achieved: “We are very happy. We could not get that gold, but to return to Argentina with a silver medal in our first Youth Olympics is very special.”

The bronze medal went to Fiji, who turned on the power and pace to defeat Kenya 12-0 and win a first ever Olympic medal. 

Fiji’s Ratu Nawabalavu was well aware of the history that his team had made. “This is the first ever Olympic medal for Fiji, so we are very happy and I am sure that we will get a big reception when we go home. It has been a very good experience and a great tournament.” 

With action, tries and entertainment aplenty, set against a backdrop of Rugby’s values of respect, passion and discipline, values shared with the Olympic family, Rugby Sevens' debut was a great success. 

Bach delighted with debut 

Thomas Bach was among the interested observers and the International Olympic Committee President was in no doubt that the vibrant sport will be a success in Rio.
“It’s a great competition, you can see how dynamic and fascinating Rugby Sevens can be and is, and we are looking forward to a great tournament in Rio.” 

“It is always critical to get it right at a big event like the Youth Olympics Games or Olympic Games.”


Every try, tackle and pass from the men’s and women’s Rugby Sevens events at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games are available on demand at Olympic.tv

Fans can follow all the action and join the conversation @IRBSevens.

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Player Quotes of Support

“More than anything, Sevens embodies the Olympic ideals of camaraderie, fair play and respect on and off the field of play.”  – Shane Williams, Wales

“You play sport at the highest level to challenge yourself to be the best that you can possibly be and to compete with the best from all over the world, and what better stage to do that on than at the Olympics?” – Sue Day, England

“Going to the Commonwealth Games was amazing and to have the chance to go to the Olympics would be right up there with anything you could possibly dream of doing in sport.” – Tamati Ellison, New Zealand


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