NZ Women's rugby sevens judged 'best female team' at Tokyo Olympics

By Will Trafford

The gold-medal-winning New Zealand Women’s sevens team has collected another piece of silverware, awarded the Best Female Team at the Tokyo Olympic Games at the ANOC Awards overnight.

The team received the Tokyo 2020 Best Female Team Award virtually at the ANOC (Association of National Olympic Committees) Awards, which were held in Crete this morning (NZ Time).

Team captain and New Zealand Team Te Pou Hapai Wahine (female flagbearer) Sarah Hirini said the team was thrilled to accept the award.

“This is a huge honour for us. It was unreal to win that gold medal and this award just makes that campaign even more special,” Hirini said.

"We're really proud of our achievements and success over the last five years and we're excited for what's next."

NZ Women's Sevens Celebrate at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Image / Sky Sports

NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith passed on her congratulations to the team.

“New Zealand was inspired by the efforts of our women’s sevens team in Tokyo,” said Smith. “This team put years of hard work into an amazing Olympic campaign and truly deserve this award.”

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson paid tribute to the team for their efforts on and off the field.

“This team continue to lead the way both on and off the field. Their performance in Tokyo was the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact they have on the game of rugby. It's fantastic to see them recognised amongst the best in the world,” Robinson said.
The women’s sevens team claimed its first Olympic gold medal at the Games.

In the final at the Tokyo Games the New Zealanders beat France 26-12 in a commanding performance to seal their spot as Olympic champions. The athletes celebrated with a powerful haka, one of the several ways they incorporate Te Ao Māori into the team.

The win topped off a huge campaign, which began following the loss of the gold medal match to Australia at Rio 2016. In the years following, the team rebuilt and strung together an amazing run to claim every title available, including winning four successive World Series titles, the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships, before claiming the coveted Olympic gold.

The New Zealand women’s sevens players also showed their lighter side at Tokyo 2020, with straight-talking, entertaining post-match interviews that went viral and promoted the game of rugby sevens. The team for Tokyo was co-coached by Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney.