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Tokyo Olympics women’s rugby sevens day three preview: Semi-final line-up confirmed
We preview the final day of the women’s Olympic sevens tournament at Tokyo Stadium as New Zealand, Fiji, Great Britain and France go in search of the gold medal.
New Zealand, Fiji, Great Britain and France will start day three of the women’s Olympic sevens tournament at Tokyo Stadium just two victories away from a gold medal.
Following four sessions of engrossing rugby sevens action it is those teams that remain standing as we reach the semi-final stage, meaning we will have a new Olympic champion at Tokyo 2020.
Rio 2016 silver medallists New Zealand booked their place in the medal semi-finals with a 36-0 quarter-final win against the Russian Olympic Committee team (ROC). They will now face Fiji in the first medal semi-final at 11:00 local time (GMT+9) on Saturday.
And then there were four...— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) July 30, 2021
The race for @Olympics gold is heating up 🔥#HowWeSevens | #Rugby | #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/zWN7tTKYAK
Fiji remain on course to emulate the success of their men’s side after they beat Rio 2016 gold medallists Australia 14-12 in the medal quarter-finals.
Saturday’s second medal semi-final kicks off at 11:30 local time and features Great Britain, who beat the USA in the last eight, and France, who overcame China, as the remaining four teams set their sights on the gold medal.
Regardless of the results of the two matches all four teams are guaranteed to play in a medal match at Tokyo Stadium on day three.
Woodman inspired by Rio heartbreak
Following New Zealand’s pool stage win against the ROC, Portia Woodman admitted she is driven by the hurt of missing out on gold five years ago.
Woodman, who took her Olympic try tally to 14 on day two, is one of seven Rio 2016 survivors in the Black Ferns Sevens squad in Tokyo.
“I have the photo of me crying underneath the goalposts cemented in my brain until this tournament is finished,” Woodman said.
“That is my inspiration. It is not that I dwell on it or I think about it too much, but it is my inspiration to never feel like that again [and to] put everything out there.”
Fiji and New Zealand have met 16 times in international sevens and the Black Ferns Sevens have won on each occasion — including twice at the recent Oceania Sevens.
The Fijiana though have impressed in Tokyo so far, and have beaten Canada and Australia — the bronze and gold medallists at Rio 2016 — en route to the last four.
France, Great Britain target gold
On the other side of the draw, Great Britain will take on France for the first time at this level looking to go at least one step further than they did at Rio 2016.
Great Britain were beaten in the medal semi-finals five years ago and then lost the bronze medal match to Canada.
Although France have never played Great Britain — or Scotland or Wales — at this level, Les Bleues have faced England on 18 occasions, winning nine of them including eight of the last 10.
Another victory on Saturday would put France into the gold medal match and continue a remarkable campaign for a team that only booked their ticket to Tokyo at last month’s World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco.
Day three of the women’s tournament will get under way at 09:00 local time (GMT+9) as Brazil and Japan meet in the 11th-place play-off, before Canada and Kenya face off for ninth.
The first fifth-place semi-final, featuring the ROC and Australia, will then kick-off at 10:00 local time before the USA and China take to the Tokyo Stadium pitch to contest the second at 10:30.
In the afternoon session, the winners of those matches will contest the fifth-place play-off at 17:00 local time after the two losing teams have completed the seventh-place play-off.
The bronze medal match is then scheduled to kick-off at 17:30 local time (GMT+9), before the Tokyo 2020 women’s Olympic sevens tournament is brought to an end by the gold medal match at 18:00.