Team GB’s women fell just short in their quest to make history on Monday night, as they were beaten 33-10 by Canada in the Rugby 7s bronze medal match at Rio 2016.
Both teams were looking to become the first nation to win an Olympic 7s medal of any colour, but Canada ran in five tries to seal third spot.
Ghislaine Landry starred for Canada with a hat-trick of scores to go with Karen Paquin’s opener and a smart Bianca Farella finish.
Danielle Waterman and Jasmine Joyce got on the scoresheet for Team GB but it wasn’t to be, leaving captain Emily Scarratt to admit her side were taught a harsh lesson on how unforgiving 7s can be.
“We’re bitterly disappointed. We came to this tournament wanting a medal and we’ve come up a bit short,” said the Lichfield Ladies centre.
“The girls gave it everything but sometimes it is just not enough and fair play to Canada. They were the better side in that game, they executed better than we did and they rightfully won that medal.
“I think we’ve got enough big experience players for that not to have daunted us in any way.
“7s is a brutal game and you have to perform for those 20 minutes. You can win it and lose it in a couple of those minutes.
“Canada executed better than we did, they kept hold of the ball and they recycled themselves and they got the win.”
Team GB made the ideal start to the tournament with a 29-3 win over hosts Brazil, secured with tries from Richmond’s Joanne Watmore and Lichfield’s Natasha Hunt (2), as well as Joyce and Emily Scott.
Later in the day GB trounced Japan 40-0 thanks to touchdowns from Alice Richardson, Katy McLean, Watmore, Amy Wilson-Hardy, Heather Fisher and Scott.
A 22-0 win over eventual conquerors Canada in their final pool game set Team GB up against Fiji in the quarters.
The Pacific islanders were dispatched with Bristol Ladies’ Abbie Brown dotting down either side of scores from Richardson and Watmore.
The semi-finals pitted Team GB against New Zealand with the All Blacks running out 25-7 winners. Richardson scored GB’s consolation try.
And while the team will be unable to return home with a medal, Scarratt hopes they have at least inspired those watching back home to take up the sport.
“It’s disappointment at the moment but this has been a phenomenal experience,” she added. “Bringing rugby to the Olympic and world stage has been amazing and if we’ve inspired a couple of people back home we’re doing a decent job.
“We’re just sorry we couldn't bring them a medal.”
Many of the squad will now return to their club sides ahead of the new season, with Saracens having celebrated the first silverware of the season on Sunday.
The north London outfit claimed the Women’s Premiership Rugby 7s title at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, where for the first time they shared the stage with the men at the Singha 7s final round.