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Tearful Tom Mitchell reflects on 'amazing' rugby sevens silver for Great Britain

Great Britain captain Tom Mitchell reflected on his team's "amazing journey" after they ended the men's rugby sevens competition at Deodoro Stadium with a silver medal.

Fiji, coached by former England Sevens supremo Ben Ryan, were in rampant form as they coasted home 43-7 to be crowned inaugural Olympic men's champions in the event and claim the first medal for their country in any sport.

Ryan will step down from his role, with his mission accomplished, while Britain will return home as runners-up after a competition that also included sevens powerhouses such as New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

"I had a few tears at the end," Mitchell said.

"Everyone has worked so hard, and it has been an amazing journey. It is a nice little way to finish it with a silver medal.

"There were those who thought we wouldn't do so well out here, and we knew we had to come here and scrap. We knew it was about working hard.

"They (Fiji) turned it up a notch, and we've seen them do that on the World Series in the last couple of years.

"They are an incredibly talented bunch of guys, and when they are on form, they are very difficult to stop.

"They got a few scores ahead, which meant we had to chase the game a little bit, then it got a bit loose and that is what they thrive on.

"It is the national sport in Fiji, and those guys will go home and be heroes. I am very happy for their whole group."

Fiji were rapidly into their stride as their captain Osea Kolinisau pounced for an opening try after appearing on an unmarked overlap.

And there was no immediate prospect of things improving for Britain. Unable to get their hands on possession, a second try soon followed for the South Sea Islanders as Jerry Tuwai crossed.

Britain's normally watertight defence leaked holes everywhere, and Fiji almost added a third try in five minutes, but Leone Nakarawa was hauled down just short of the line.

Britain badly needed a score before the break, yet they were pinned inside their own half and Fiji picked them off with another try, this time from Jasa Veremalua.

All the Fiji players wanted a part to play, and it was pretty much game over when Nakarawa pounced for try number four a minute before half-time.

It was very much damage-limitation for Britain, yet they were breached once more as Vatemo Ravouvou sprinted clear, and with two conversions also being kicked, Fiji changed ends 29 points ahead.

Josua Tuisova added another try shortly after half-time, and although Dan Norton claimed a consolation score for Britain, Fiji inevitably had the final word when Viliame Mata crossed the whitewash.

Reflecting on the final and the tournament, Britain head coach Simon Amor added: " They are an outstanding team. It is probably right that Fiji, the team that plays the game so beautifully, were rewarded with the gold and the first medal for their country.

"The way they played in that final was absolute dynamite.

"I am so proud of my boys. They gave so much, every single time, and unfortunately the last game was just one too many, but I have never seen a team play with such heart and fight.

"It has been amazing. We always knew we would have 10 weeks to make this work, and we had a lot of rugby in the build-up.

"It has been an interesting journey. We knew we had talent, and the team spirit was extraordinary."

The bronze medal match, meanwhile, was won by South Africa, who demolished Japan - shock opening day conquerors of New Zealand - 54-14.


From Belfast Telegraph