Three days of thrilling rugby sevens action came to a conclusion on Monday with Argentina and New Zealand winning gold medals in the respective men's and women's competitions.

France were beaten in both finals with Argentina's men reversing the result from Nanjing four years ago. The Japan men's and Canada women's teams claimed the bronze medals as the crowds once again turned out in force at the Club Atlético San Isidro La Boya.

In the presence of IOC Chairman Thomas Bach and World Rugby's vice-president Agustín Pichot, both finals showcased all that is good about U18 rugby.


New Zealand had been the dominant force in the women's event but they were given a tough examination by their European opponents. New Zealand posted two early tries but both went unconverted by Risi Pouri-Lane, who otherwise had an excellent tournament, and France came storming back to take a 12-10 lead two minutes into the second half.

As all good sides do, New Zealand kept their composure and, with a couple of minutes left on the clock, Mahina Paul saved the day by scoring their third unconverted try for a 15-10 win.

"It feels really surreal to have the medals around the neck," said New Zealand's Tiana Davidson. "It took a lot of hard work and determination to get here so it feels amazing to take it home."

"We were the champions because we are a sisterhood."


Argentina were equally worthy winners in the men's event, going through five rounds of pool play unbeaten before seeing off France in the final, 24-14.

Captained by 17-year old Juan González, Argentina brought the crowd to its feet as they raced into a 19-0 first-half lead, their tries coming from Ignacio Mendy, Lucio Cinti Luna and Nicolas Roger.

France started the second half strongly and within four minutes the gap had narrowed to five points, thanks to a quickfire brace from Joachim Trouabal.

However, France were halted in their tracks when they lost two men to the sin-bin in as many minutes and Argentina claimed a much-celebrated gold medal when Ramiro Costa crossed for their fourth try.

"We worked for almost three years for this and we are delighted to have achieved the goal," said coach Lucas Borges. "These players will certainly go places in the future."

Meanwhile, Los Pumas legend Pichot was delighted with how the three days of rugby sevens panned out. "The key word is inspiration, these boys and girls were an inspiration to all of us. We all enjoyed three days of pure joy, fun and friendship, something that was clear to see for all.

"On a personal note, being able to have the Youth Olympic Games at my club is like coming full circle, having started playing here so many years ago, I am extremely happy."

IOC Chairman Thomas Bach was also delighted with what he saw. "Rugby is such an exciting sport - the superb athleticism of the players and the competition format means the score can change in an instant. It's wonderful for the crowd and keeps them on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. It was a great game today with a crowd to match."