NANJING China (Reuters) - Unbeaten Australia claimed women’s rugby sevens gold in the sport’s debut at the Youth Olympic Games on Wednesday after a hat-trick from flying winger Dominique du Toit helped them to a 38-10 win over Canada.
In the men’s tournament, France scored three late tries to record a comfortable 45-22 win over Argentina.
“We knew that we were just about to make history, whether it be a silver or a gold, but we were so hungry for that gold medal and we’ve just made history,” said Australia’s Tiana Penitani.
Du Toit scored her first try after less than a minute, finishing off a sweeping move across the pitch to touch down, but Penitani was then yellow carded for an infringement in the eighth minute.
Canada, who stunned hosts China in the semi-finals, took full advantage of their numerical superiority and got back on level terms at 5-5 through Charity Williams’ try.
The tables were turned on Canada shortly afterwards, however, as Williams was then yellow carded and Du Toit scored her second try and Australia went in 12-5 up at half-time.
Australia put the game away at the start of the second half with tries from Tayla Stanford and Du Toit, her third, before Penitani and Marioulla Belessis capped the scoring late on.
“I never dreamed of a hat-trick,” said Du Toit. “We knew how strong the Canadians were. We are not the biggest girls but speed and skill was what we relied on.”
Canada coach John Tait lamented his side’s unforced errors.
“Turnovers really haunted us through the tournament,” he told the Games official website.
“Turnovers against the weaker teams is fine, but if you gift the ball too much to teams like Australia and China, they will score and then you are chasing the game.”
Kaitilyn Richard scored Canada’s other try.
China beat the United States 12-0 in the bronze medal match.
In the men’s competition, France gained revenge for their loss to Argentina in the pool stage.
”After the semi-final against Fiji we knew we had a huge final ahead of us. We had to give ourselves, our body, our lives – everything,” said Arthur Retiere.
“It was sort of a revenge because we lost the first game, but we knew we could do it. And now we have done it, it is time for fun.”
Fiji beat Kenya to take the men’s bronze medal.
Rugby sevens makes its debut at the regular Olympics at the 2016 Rio Games.
Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Ian Ransom