Fiji got their HSBC Sevens World Series campaign back on track by defeating South Africa 29-17 in the final of the Dubai Sevens.
The Pacific Islanders ran in five tries in front of an energetic crowd in 7he Sevens Stadium. They led 19-0 at half-time before an early try in the second half gave them a 24-0 lead.
The Blitzbokke fought back with two tries, in quick succession, but time was running out on the clock and when Fiji scored their fifth five-pointer it was the final nail in South Africa’s coffin.
There was still time for South Africa to score a third try but the final whistle went shortly after that.
In the first semi-final Fiji blew the Gold Coast Sevens champions New Zealand away, before South Africa proved too strong for England.
Gordon Tietjens’ New Zealand had won all four of their matches at the Dubai Sevens, but came up against a rampant Fiji who won 44-0, New Zealand’s biggest ever defeat, with eight different try scorers to maintain their 100% record.
England had led 5-0 but South Africa won 26-12 thanks to tries from Cecil Afrika, Justin Geduld, Wener Kok and Chris Dry.
In the first Cup quarter-final New Zealand proved too strong for a spirited Argentinean side, winning 26-19 to book their place in the semi-finals while Fiii set up a match with Tietjens’ side by beating Scotland 26-14 thanks to two tries from Samisoni Viriviri.
Paul Treu was unable to defeat his former side as Kenya suffered a 21-12 lost to the hands of South Africa and England booked their place in the semi-finals after beating Wales, who had won all three of their pool matches on day one, 33-12.
Having lost their Cup quarter-finals, Argentina and Wales won their Plate semi-finals to reach the Plate final which Los Pumas won 21-5.
Australia came from 5-0 behind to beat Portugal 17-12 in the Bowl final with Tom Lucas, Luke Morahan and Paul Asquith.
Having reached the Cup final on home soil in the first round, Australia collected an extra eight points to add to their season tally.
In the semi finals, two David Mateus tries helped Portugal reach the final with a 33-24 win over Canada while Michael O’Connor’s side beat the defending Cup champions Samoa with captain Ed Jenkins helping himself to a brace in the win.
France came from 12-0 behind to beat Spain 28-17 and pick up the first silverware on offer at the Dubai Sevens, and three valuable Series points.
Earlier, Spain beat Russia 17-5 to reach the Shield final where they met France following Les Bleus’ last-minute victory over the USA.
Final: South Africa 17-29 Fiji
Third-place Playoff: New Zealand 17-14 England
New Zealand 0-44 Fiji
South Africa 26-12 England
New Zealand 26-19 Argentina
Fiji 26-14 Scotland
South Africa 21-12 Kenya
Wales 12-33 England
Final: Argentina 21-5 Wales
Argentina 12 – 5 Scotland
Kenya 19-24 Wales
Final:Portugal 12-17 Australia
Portugal 33-24 Canada
Samoa 14-19 Australia
Portugal 24-7 Russia
Canada 22-12 Spain
Samoa 21-10 France
Australia 47-7 USA
Final: Spain 17-28 France
Semi-finals: Russia 5-17 Spain; France 19-14 USA
Ben Ryan, Fiji’s jubilant winning coach: “Osea has been a brilliant captain. I had to keep them level-headed after the semi but I didn’t need to do anything.
“The were humble and ready to go. We were in control today and it’s just great. We have amazing talent on the island and this is the start for us. We need to build on that – I have never seen a game of Sevens like the one we did in the semi-final.”
Australia captain Ed Jenkins, Bowl winners: “It’s good to get that win but it wasn’t the best performance [overall], so that was a bit upsetting. Our attack today wasn’t that sharp but the boys will do the work over the next week and hopeflly we can turn it around in Port Elizabeth.”
Vincent Deniau, France captain, Shield winners: “Yesterday was very hard to take with three losses in the pool stages. We are very sad about this tournament, but we have to look forward now and everything is possible in Sevens.”
South African coach Neil Powell after the semi-final win over England: “I think the boys showed great character. They are a great bunch of guys.
“We know that England are a good team – they’ve shown some great form in this tournament – so hats off to my guys for playing so well. We have two injured guys so only 10 are fit to play. It will definitely take a team effort to put one past Fiji, but hopefully we can do it.”
Ben Ryan, Fiji coach after beating New Zealand 44-0: “I am speechless. The boys had their heads screwed on. They are a great bunch and we will now press the reset button for the final.”
England captain Tom Powell: “There were words last night after the Fiji game. The boys came out positive today and we were really strong. It’s the noise from the ex-pats that gets us up and going and we can’t wait for the semi-finals.”
- Planet Rugby