‘Powerful’ Hazel Irvine and Ugo Monye speechless as Fiji rugby team in tears after gold

Tokyo 2020 round-up: Team GB's Magic Monday with more medals

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On Wednesday morning, Fiji faced off against New Zealand in the Men’s Rugby Sevens in the Tokyo 2020 gold medal match. And after an action-packed and try-filled encounter, it was Fiji who came out on top, beating New Zealand by 27-12 and retaining their title as Olympic champions following victory in Rio de Janeiro five years ago. The monumental achievement had each and every member of the Fiji squad in tears and after watching the emotional scenes play out in Japan, BBC presenters Ugo Monye and Hazel Irvine were full of admiration.

After relegating New Zealand to a silver medal on the podium, Fiji’s team all broke down in tears on the pitch after achieving gold at consecutive Olympic Games.

Shortly after, they congregated on the pitch to form a circle to embrace one another.

“Take a look at this,” Hazel said to Ugo as the scenes played out in Tokyo. “This is the huddle.

“This is the team which has shouldered, we haven’t really discussed this Ugo, the pressure of coming back to defend the title.

“They’d never won a title. They’d never won a medal at anything at the Olympic Games, and here they are here, having to come back and defend it here.

“(They’re) giving thanks here in a winners’ circle,” Hazel added as Ugo weighed in: “They’re one of the only rugby nations, other than South Africa, that wherever they travel in the world they -“

However, Ugo stopped himself in his tracks, as he and Hazel became speechless as they watched the Fijian team take part in their huddle.

The team began speaking in unison as they came together to enjoy their victory while silence descended on the BBC studio.

As the pictures of the tearful players continued, the cameras returned to the studio where Hazel eventually weighed in with her thoughts.

“Wow,” the BBC presenter said. “We’re privileged to be able to share that.”

Equally blown away, Ugo took a deep breath as he added: “That was powerful.

“Ummm, people will always try and tell you that sport is just a game.

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“But it’s a game that can change people’s lives (and) inspire a nation – and they’ve done all of that.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them. I’m not Fijian but I love the way they play.

“I know the struggles that they’ve had so congratulations Fiji,” Ugo added as Hazel concurred: “Here, here.”

The Olympics presenter also commented: “I think those sentiments will be echoed up and down the country, they’ve made a lot of friends over the years.”

Following their gold medal victory, thousands of Olympics fans flooded social media with their messages of congratulations.

And Fiji’s prime minister Frank Bainimarama was among them, taking to the platform to say: “Vinaka, boys –– that win was worth more than Gold. 

“Your love for this game, for each other, and for your country has shown again that when Fijians unite, we can achieve greatness –– no matter what the world throws our way. 

“GO FIJI GO!!!!” he added.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics coverage airs daily across the BBC.

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