Tokyo Olympics 2020: ‘Put Sarah Hirini’s interview in Te Papa’: World reacts to Black Ferns win

The Black Ferns Sevens beat France 26-12 to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics last night, banishing the heartbreak of finishing second to Australia at the Rio Games five years ago. There were many heroes for the Kiwis, but captain Sarah Hirini was the toast of social media.

Hirini, New Zealand’s captain courageous and probably the most influential player on the pitch, started the final by setting up the first try, and finished it by giving an incredibly emotional and powerful post-match interview.

All the emotions

“I’m just so happy,” Hirini, fighting back tears and sporting a rapidly blackening right eye, said.

“There’s so much going through my mind. I love you mum, I miss you.”

Hirini’s mum, Ronnie Goss, died in March – on her 53rd birthday – and the Black Ferns captain told TVNZ before the Games that her death was still “really raw”.

Last night she was riding a wave of emotion.

“I’m just so grateful to be a part of the best team in the world. Man, this team has been through a lot over the last five years and we’re bringing home a gold medal. I’m just so proud. We love each other. It’s pretty special. We’ve been together for two months now. It’s such a special group and this is the last time we’ll be playing together as a team.

“We love to have a good time and that’s probably the most important thing for us.”

NZ Sevens star and team-mate Ruby Tui went viral for her personality and performance on Friday, but last night it was Hirini’s turn.

Haka 'goosebumps'

A video of the Olympic champions doing a post-match haka was tweeted out by the USA’s SportsCentre (to their 38 million followers) and was quickly viewed over 300,000 time, by some impressed viewers.

Flashbacks of Rio erased

Portia Woodman, who was inconsolable after losing to Australia in the gold medal match in Rio, also gave an incredible post-match interview.

“On the very instance of getting up on the podium, it was unreal. Flashbacks of Rio is now deleted, erased and gone. We now have this gold medal. It’s amazing,” she told Sky sport.

“I think, for me, looking back on Rio, that emotion of scoring the last try but still not being able to win, crying under the post, is definitely one I looked back on, but now it’s gone.

“When that whistle blew, I was elated with so much emotion and happiness…I just looked at Sarah, looked at Michaela…looked at everyone on the field. It was just an unreal experience of happiness.”

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