Fiji claim Hong Kong Sevens

2016-04-10 15:15
Fiji celebrate (AP)

Hong Kong, - Reigning world series champions Fiji underlined their Olympic credentials with a 21-7 victory over New Zealand to win the Hong Kong Sevens in convincing style on Sunday.

Fiji, the form team at the Rio Olympics' unofficial dress rehearsal, outscored New Zealand three tries to one to stretch their lead in the series standings.

The victory will further raise hopes of Fiji's first ever Olympic gold medals in August in Rio, where rugby will feature at the Summer Games for the first time in 92 years.

In a tense final, New Zealand's Pita Akhi opened the scoring with a searing run down the right, in which he outstripped one Fijian defender and sidestepped another.

Fiji hit back and made it 7-7 at half-time when Jerry Tuwai took a quick penalty near the line and dived over before the New Zealanders could react.

Substitute Kitione Taliga put Fiji 14-7 ahead in the second half when he sold a dummy and accelerated through the slimmest of gaps in the Kiwi defence.

And Semi Kunatani scored beneath the posts after Fiji out-muscled New Zealand in a ruck and passed their way through a scattered defensive line.

Earlier South Africa claimed third place with a narrow 14-12 play-off win over Australia, who missed a do-or-die, post-hooter penalty kick at the posts.

England, still sentimental favourites in the ex-British colony, lifted the plate trophy with a 19-0 win over the United States, after they lost 14-5 to Australia in the Cup quarter-finals.

And Japan booked a place at next year's event when they beat hosts Hong Kong 24-14 in the final of the concurrent qualifying tournament.

Hong Kong is the biggest and most high-profile event on the 10-stop sevens world series, making it an important barometer for teams before the Rio Olympics in August.


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