Back home … Olympics rugby champion whisked away for quarantine

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Rugby Sevens - Men - Medal Ceremony - Tokyo Stadium - Tokyo, Japan - July 28, 2021. Fiji players pray before the match. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The Fiji men’s rugby 7s side received a low-key welcome amidst the safe COVID-19 protocols upon arrival in the early hours of yesterday morning at the Nadi International Airport from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The side, minus head coach Gareth Baber and the Europe-based players Vilimoni Botitu, Aminiasi Tuimaba and Semi Radradra, was whisked away by police escort to the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island where the side will spend their 14-day quarantine period.

Fiji 7s team manager Jone Niurua offered a short interview to the media saying it was good to be back home after completing their mission by defending the gold medal. He thanked the team management and coaching staff for the right directions given to the players to follow as they proceeded through their games.

“Winning gold in Tokyo is a big achievement,” Niurua said.

“All the teams were targeting the gold medal. It was hard in the first two games so the management regrouped the players and made a few decisions on how to map out strategies to gain the top rankings during the pool stage to go through to the eliminations,” he said.

With the World Rugby 2021/2022 HSBC Sevens Series starting in Vancouver in September, Niurua said there were no immediate plans for the players.

“The players will be given time to get the much-needed rest,” he said.

“They have been committed with the team for the last four months so now they can get to spend time with their families.”

Fiji defeated New Zealand 27-12 in the final to take out the top spot.

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