HSBC World Seven Series leader Fiji came from behind to overcome a strong New Zealand side 21-7 to win the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens yesterday evening.
Fiji beats New Zealand to win Hong Kong Sevens. Photo: World Rugby
In a bruising 20 minutes encounter, Pita Ahki got All Blacks Sevens off to a flying start when he turned Fiji’s Jerry Tuwai inside out and ran in under the posts. However just minutes later Tuwai got his revenge as he sniped over the New Zealand line from three metres away. With the rain starting to fall, handling errors were plentiful from both sides and the first half ended 7-7.
Kitione Taliga scored early on in the second half for Fiji after Semi Kunatani made a striding break through the stretched New Zealand defence. At 14-7, Fiji then turned up the pressure even more as Pio Tuwai turned over possession on Fiji's 22 and let Amenoni Nasilasila loose, who eventually offloaded to send Semi Kunatani under the posts and secure the victory.
Fiji's Semi Kunatani in action. Photo: World Rugby
Elsewhere in the competition South Africa edged Australia to finish third, England beat USA to take the plate, Argentina beat Scotland to the bowl and Russia overcame Canada to lift the plate.
Earlier last evening, Japan, who is the wild-card team for this year’s Series, came from behind to beat host Hong Kong 24-14 in a dramatic series qualifier final to win promotion and booked core team status for all 10 rounds of next season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17. Japan will replace the bottom-ranked of the current core team sides at the end of this season in London - currently Portugal.
Japan came from behind to beat host Hong Kong 24-14 in a dramatic series qualifier final. Photo: World Rugby
Following on from the drama and excitement of the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, World Rugby has announced the draw for round 8 of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore.
Hong Kong Sevens winners Fiji head up pool A and will face England, Samoa and Portugal, while Hong Kong's beaten finalists New Zealand will play USA, France and Canada in pool B. South Africa will play Kenya, Scotland and Russia in pool C and Australia, who has qualified for the semi-finals in the last 4 rounds, will face Wales, Argentina and Japan in pool D.
After seven rounds of the series Fiji have stretched out to a five-point lead at the top of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens standing with 128 points, ahead of New Zealand (123) who are one point clear of third-placed South Africa (122 points). Australia (105 points) and USA (88 points) remain fourth and fifth travelling on to Singapore and with 3 rounds remaining.
The pool matches in Singapore’s National Stadium will kick off this Saturday 16 April at 10am and will end around 7.45pm in the evening followed by an exclusive DJ set from British superstar Pete Tong. Both the women (approximately 12.56pm) and men (approximately 4.17pm) finals of the inaugural South East Asia 7s will also be played this Saturday. The HSBC Singapore Sevens continues on Sunday 17 April from 10.30am and the Cup final will be played around 7.30pm.
Two-day passes to the HSBC World Rugby Singapore Sevens range from SGD 50 to SGD 150 (prices exclude booking fees), while children under 12 need only to pay SGD2 for Category 2 and 3 tickets. All ticket holders can also enjoy a host of benefits and discounts at partnering outlets islandwide.
Information and online ticket sales are available on www.singapore7s.sg