- Australia win women’s Commonwealth Games gold with 22-12 defeat of Fiji
- South Africa claim men’s title with stunning 31-7 victory over Olympic champions Fiji
- New Zealand secure pair of bronze medals while Fiji take home both silver medals
- Vibrant crowd of more than 100,000 fans witness superb showcase of rugby sevens over three-day competition at Coventry Stadium
- Rugby World Cup Sevens kicks off on 9-11 September in Cape Town following the men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series finale in Los Angeles on 27-28 August
Australia's women claimed Commonwealth Games rugby sevens gold for the first time on Sunday after their extra-time heartache four years ago, before South Africa's men were crowned champions for the second time.
Australia raced into a 17-0 half-time lead in the women’s gold medal match and, despite a spirited fightback from Fijiana, ran out 22-12 winners to add Commonwealth Games gold to their Rio 2016 Olympic triumph, RWC Sevens 2009 and HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022 title.
Faith Nathan ran in a pair of tries alongside scores from Madison Ashby and Maddison Levi to secure gold for Australia.
Australia's Sharni Williams was delighted with the win: "It hasn’t really sunk in for me. I think the win over New Zealand was huge for us. Going into this… it was about that belief and figuring out that we weren’t just about that last game against Fiji.
“We believe in each other, we’ve done the work and we’ve fought through COVID. You know what’s expected. We have that accountability and whatever comes our way we deal with together.”
The men’s gold medal match was a one-sided affair as South Africa dominated from the start to take a 24-0 lead over Fiji thanks to tries from tournament top scorer Angelo Davids, JC Pretorius, Shaun Williams and Muller du Plessis before Waisea Naqucu replied for Fiji, but Mfundo Ndhlovu ran in a fifth try for South Africa at the death to seal a comprehensive 31-7 victory.
It was a second gold medal for South Africa, having triumphed in their previous appearance in the showpiece match in Glasgow in 2014.
South Africa coach Neil Powell said: “It was an amazing performance from the guys. I’m really happy for the team that they got their reward for all the hard work they’ve put in over the last weeks before we came over to England. They are a great bunch of guys who fight for each other, for the team and for the system and I’m very proud of them.
“It was great to play in front of a full capacity and an amazing atmosphere here. We’ve got two big tournaments coming up including the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town where we will have 55,000 people in the stadium with the same energy and hopefully the result will be the same.”
New Zealand were unable to repeat their double gold medal success from Gold Coast 2018 and had to settle for bronze in both the women’s and men’s events in Coventry.
The Black Ferns Sevens overcame a spirited Canada 19-12 while the All Blacks Sevens, who had won gold at five of the previous six Commonwealth Games, beat Australia 26-12 in a hotly contested men’s bronze medal match.
Earlier in the day there was late drama in the men’s semi-finals as Fiji produced a stunning comeback to triumph 19-14 over New Zealand with a golden score in extra-time thanks to a try from captain Waisea Nacuqu, who ran the length of the field to touch down in the corner and send the crowd into raptures.
Australia scored first in their semi-final against South Africa but a hat-trick of tries from the tournament’s top scorer Angelo Davids – his of the competition – and a superb individual effort from Selvyn Davids ensured the Blitzboks ran out 24-12 winners to book their place in the gold medal match.
Hosts England finished on a high with a pair of victories for both the men’s and women’s teams on Sunday. The men beat neighbours Wales 14-10 before a 31-17 victory over an impressive Uganda secured ninth position.
England’s women beat Scotland 29-5 in the fifth place play-off. Meanwhile, Samoa beat Scotland 24-19 to clinch fifth position in the men’s competition and Jamaica defeated Malaysia 28-7 and Sri Lanka 26-24 to claim their first-ever Commonwealth Games wins and 13th position.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We have had three fantastic days of scintillating, world-class rugby sevens in front of huge crowds at Coventry Stadium in what has been another superb showcase for the sport.
“The standard of rugby has been exceptional and congratulations to the medallists who will cherish this moment for years to come. We pay tribute to the Birmingham 2022 organisers for putting on an excellent event in a vibrant stadium and a special thank you to the thousands of volunteers who are the heart of the Games.
“The future of sevens is very bright and we now look forward to an exciting climax to the men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022 in Los Angeles in August, followed by the highly anticipated Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town on 9-11 September, involving 40 of the best teams from across the globe.”