One of the features of the Olympic sevens tournaments at Tokyo 2020 were the moments provided by performers who were not previously household names.

And, we aren’t talking only about the field event support robots.

Following six pulsating days of international rugby sevens at Tokyo Stadium, we look at six players who could now have bright futures on the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Chloe Jacquet (France)

At only 19 years old, Chloe Jacquet is a woman with the sevens world at her feet. The forward made her debut at the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in June, helping her country book their place at the Olympics with two tries in five appearances.

Jacquet was used primarily as an impact replacement in Monaco, and that was the role she would reprise in Tokyo, coming off the bench in each of Les Bleues’ six matches.

She proved she knows where the goal line is too, touching down the final tries in France’s pool stage victories against Brazil and Canada.

In the gold medal match against New Zealand, Jacquet came on with just over two minutes left and France two scores behind. She produced a try-saving tackle to deny Portia Woodman in the left corner, but despite her best efforts was unable to get the team moving forward.

Jacquet will now want to build on her promising performances in Monaco and Tokyo on the World Series.

Ignacio Mendy (Argentina)

One of three Youth Olympics gold medallists in the Argentina squad at Tokyo 2020 and the first of two on this list, Ignacio Mendy will go down in history as the man who secured his country’s bronze medal.

In total, Mendy scored four tries in six matches but his overall contribution to Argentina’s Olympic campaign went far beyond his 20-point haul.

Against South Africa in the medal quarter-finals — a match in which Argentina played for more than 11 minutes with six players following Gaston Revol’s red card — Mendy was a willing runner and distributor, helping to set the tone as his side refused to play on the back foot.

It was his break and offload that set Marcos Moneta on his way to score his side’s crucial second try and he also played the scoring pass to captain Santiago Alvarez late in the second half as the South Americans claimed a memorable victory.

So far, he has appeared at only one World Series event, as an 18-year-old in Cape Town three years ago, but it is surely only a matter of time before he becomes a star of the circuit.

Marcos Moneta (Argentina) 

Marcos Moneta had hinted at his huge potential in his appearances on the World Series in 2019 and 2020, but he left the watching public in no doubt with his performances in Tokyo.

Like his fellow Youth Olympics gold medallist Mendy, Moneta kicked off his Games with a try in the opening match against Australia and did not look back.

No male player scored more tries at Tokyo Stadium than his six, and he came up with them at pivotal moments in Argentina’s run to the bronze medal.

That was highlighted best by Moneta’s contribution to the medal quarter-final victory against South Africa. Argentina trailed the Blitzboks 7-0 when Revol was shown a straight red card, yet the match situation seemed to have no impact on the 21-year-old’s mentality.

His first score was a lung-busting run to the corner and his second, which came just two minutes later, displayed his supreme attacking ability as he gathered his own kick over the covering Branco du Preez to touch down.

Tries against both Fiji and Great Britain followed and Argentina fans will hope he can transfer his prolific form onto the World Series.

Reapi Ulunisau (Fiji)

It was not long ago that Reapi Ulunisau was a promising netball player, but Fijiana coach Saiasi Fuli convinced her to give sevens a go and she more than repaid his faith in Tokyo.

Ulunisau was one of three players in Fuli’s Fijiana squad that had never played at this level prior to the Oceania Sevens tournament in June, and on the evidence on display at Tokyo Stadium she has a long future ahead of her.

The 26-year-old gave a glimpse of her potential with two tries in the pool stage win over Canada, but it was in the match against Brazil that she truly came to the party.

No Fijian player — male or female — had ever scored an Olympic hat-trick heading into day two of the women’s Olympic sevens tournament in Tokyo. Ulunisau went one better in the Pool B encounter, to become the first player of any nation to cross the whitewash four times at the Games.

Tries in the medal semi-final against New Zealand and the bronze medal match against Great Britain followed, and no team on the World Series will look forward to coming up against the playmaker any time soon.

Jiuta Wainiqolo (Fiji)

It is often said that Fijians are born to play sevens, and the latest example of that to emerge off of the conveyor belt is Jiuta Wainiqolo.

A rangy three-quarter who has represented his country at U20 and senior level in 15s, Wainiqolo was transformed into an all-action sevens forward capable of match-winning interventions on either side of the ball.

Like Ulunisau, and two of his team-mates on Gareth Baber’s Fiji squad, Wainiqolo had not played international sevens until the Oceania Sevens in Townsville, but he announced himself on the biggest stage with tries in each of his side’s three pool stage matches.

His importance to the double Olympic champions was highlighted in the medal semi-final against Argentina, as he picked a brilliant support line to take a pass from Iosefo Masi and sprint over for the go-ahead score from his own 10m line.

Wainiqolo scored his fifth and final try of an outstanding Olympics late in the first half of the gold medal match, to give Fiji a 14-point lead against the All Blacks Sevens they rarely looked like relinquishing. 

Wang Wanyu (China)

China were one of the standout performers in the women’s Olympic sevens tournament at Tokyo 2020, running France and the USA (twice) close, while beating Japan and the Russian Olympic Committee team (ROC) to finish seventh.

Wang Wanyu was at the heart of everything that the Chinese did at Tokyo Stadium, scoring four tries, including one in each of the two matches against the USA.

In the seventh-place play-off against the ROC, it was Wanyu who kick-started China’s comeback as she picked a wonderful line to take a pass from Gu Yaoyao and exploit a gap that had opened up in the defensive line.

It was indicative of Wanyu’s performances throughout the Olympics and helped China to gain a foothold in a match they would go on to win 22-10, having trailed 10-0 when the hooter sounded at the end of the first half.

Wanyu had played three World Series tournaments prior to the Olympics, dating back to 2018, and she will hope her performances at Tokyo Stadium can act as a springboard to more success in the future.