Wiganer Bibby shining at the Olympics

Great Britain's men - including Wigan's Dan Bibby - made an impressive start to their rugby sevens campaign and marched into the Tokyo Olympics quarter-finals with opening day victories over Canada and Japan.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 1:44 pm
Updated Monday, 26th July 2021, 1:46 pm
Dan Bibby

The Rio Games silver medallists tackle reigning Olympic champions Fiji in the final round of group games on Tuesday, when Pool B top spot will be at stake, but a last-eight place is guaranteed.

Britain saw off Canada 24-0 in their opener - Dan Norton (2), Ross McCann and Robbie Fergusson scored tries, with Aspull-born Bibby kicking two conversions - after Tom Mitchell's side followed the Great Britain women's hockey and football teams by taking the knee before kick-off.

Japan earlier gave Fiji a major scare, leading by seven points early in the second period before two late tries thwarted them.

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But they were brushed aside 34-0 as Harry Glover, Ben Harris, Ethan Waddleton, Alex Davis, Bibby and Mitchell touched down, and Bibby landed two conversions to complete an outstanding day's work.

Prospects for the men's and women's GB squads looked bleak last year amid coronavirus-enforced cuts made to sevens programmes in Britain.

Funding, though, was then obtained via a commercial partnership struck between the Rugby Football Union, Scottish Rugby Union, Welsh Rugby Union and the National Lottery promotional fund.

It meant the Olympic dream came alive again following an uncertain time that long-serving sevens exponent Bibby is unlikely to forget in a hurry.

"A lot of people have bigger struggles in life, but it has definitely been the most difficult year of my life," he said.

"Trying to have an Olympic Games in your sights, I was in the garage training in the middle of winter.

"The amount of times I sat there just thinking 'what am I doing'? The amount of times my brain was thinking 'just give up, call it a day'.

"That determination everyone has had to be here, that is what is fuelling us.

"You know there are worse times than when the heat is coming on, your legs are hurting and you feel like giving up.

"You have got it in the back of your mind not to worry because you've had harder than this. It is hard to describe how proud I am of myself and the lads to get here.

"Who knows what is going to happen after this? I do know that we are treating every game as our last. We will go out there for each other, our loved ones and do everyone proud."

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