DAY 3 HONG KONG 7s: FIJI TAKES CUP, SAMOA PLATE, USA BOWL
Fiji won a high scoring Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Final against arch rivals New Zealand to take its 13th title in Hong Kong. The Fijians had humbled everyone before them over the whole tournament and took the game straight to their opponents in a ferocious enounter.
Fiji were two tries up after only 4 minutes, but even a relatively inexperienced New Zealand team can’t be ruled out and they fought back to tie the scores, 14-14, at half time. A try by Stefano Cakau early in the second put Fiji back in front and this was entended to 14 points by Nikola Matawalu’s score a few minutes later. A Bryce Heem try put New Zealand back in touch with 2 minutes to go, but Waisea Nayacalevu’s instant reply sealed it for Fiji despite a late consolation try for New Zealand.
An emotional Fiji coach, Alavereti Dere said he was “very, very happy” after winning at his first attempt as coach in Hong Kong and as such becoming one of a very few players to win the Hong Kong Sevens as a player and coach. Commenting on how close the match was, he commented, “I think we wanted it more than New Zealand in the last ten minutes”.
Looking ahead to next week’s event in Tokyo, Dere said “it really sets us up for next week and maintains us in the top two places in the IRB Sevens rankings”
Also in the Cup, South Africa defeated England, 28-0, to take 3rd place, winning convincingly with four unanswered tries.
Samoa won a close contest in the last minute with a try from Taulagi Afamasaga, to defeat Argentina 12-10 to take home the Plate competition. Earlier in the Bowl Final, Kenya held on to win 14-12 against a competitve USA team.
In the all important Qualifier event, Canada took the spoils beating Spain 22-5 with a hatrick of tries from Sean Duke. There was consolation for Spain though, as they along with Canada and third place winners, Portugal, won the three spots on offer to join the HSBC Sevens World Series next year, guaranteeing them competition against the best teams in the world at ten series events.
Unfortunately, host Hong Kong were not able to capitalisie on the their good form from the first two days, as a red card for playmaker Keith Robertson, made it very difficult for them against Japan, who eventually won through 10-5 in extra time after a gallant effort by the Hong Kong team.
Results Day 3:
China 5 – 7 Guyana
Uruguay 22 – 5 Philippines
Hong Kong 5 – 10 Japan
Spain 19 – 7 Tonga
Canada 24 – 7 Russia
Portugal 21 – 17 Zimbabwe
Fiji 26 – 7 Argentina
Australia 14 – 19 England
Samoa 14 – 27 South Africa
New Zealand 31 – 7 Wales
Guyana 0 – 31 Uruguay
Japan 12 – 17 Spain
Canada 14 – 12 Portugal
Scotland 14 – 28 USA
Kenya 29 – 0 France
Argentina 21 – 12 Australia
Samoa 36 – 7 Wales
Fiji 14 – 7 England
South Africa 12 – 19 New Zealand
Qualifier 3rd Place: Japan 19 - 33 Portugal
Qualifier Final: Spain 5 - 22 Canada
Bowl Final: USA 12 – 14 Kenya
Plate Final: Argentina 10 – 12 Samoa
Cup 3rd Place: England 0 – 28 South Africa
Cup Final: Fiji 35 – 28 New Zealand
Source: Hong Kong Rugby Football Union media release prepared by Elite Step Asia Limited