Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of Tokyo 2020’s sevens finale, as Great Britain face Argentina in the bronze medal match before heavyweights New Zealand and Fiji meet in the gold medal match.
As Tom Cary writes from Tokyo, a tearful Tom Mitchell said he was “confused” and still processing his emotions after Great Britain’s hopes of winning gold in the sevens were dashed by New Zealand in a one-sided semi-final at the Ajinomoto Stadium.
After their thrilling quarter-final comeback win against the United States on Tuesday, hopes were high that GB might be able to harness the momentum from that match and go all the way.
But captain Mitchell was still missing after having to go off injured in the quarter-final. And in his absence the GB team, led by Dan Bibby, were thoroughly outclassed by New Zealand who ran in five tries in a 29-7 victory.
GB now face Argentina – who lost to Fiji in the other semi – in the bronze medal match at 9.30am today.
“It’s a confusing one,” said Mitchell after the game, his voice cracking from behind his face-mask. “Watching from the sidelines and trying to stay composed, and do what I can from the team. I probably didn’t go through the emotions in the game like the boys would have done. It will probably hit me as we’re talking right now, which is…. not very useful…”
Mitchell explained that his emotional reaction was not just to do with the disappointment of losing, but because of the journey he and his team have been on, with the sevens programme in disarray after funding cuts during the pandemic.
The National Lottery stepped in late last year with a package for the 2021 season, but most of GB’s sevens squad – including Mitchell – are still unsure of their next steps.
New Zealand controlled the game from the first whistle, probing GB’s defences and eventually scoring through Scott Curry.
Britain hit back thanks to record try scorer Dan Norton who raced home from the halfway line after a fine offload from Ollie Lindsay-Hague. But the Kiwis got their second try just before the break via Regan Ware. And the second half was one-way traffic.
Ware scored his second before Dylan Collier plucked the resulting kick-off by teammate Andrew Knewstubb out of the air and raced home for his first and New Zealand’s fourth of the game.
Curry added a fifth late on to rub salt into GB’s wounds.