HSBC NZ Sevens Crown back to the South Pacific
Fiji won the HSBC New Zealand Sevens in Hamilton beating USA in the Final.
An unstoppable Fiji retained the HSBC New Zealand Sevens Crown to move joint top of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at the matches held at the FMG Stadium in Hamilton over the weekend.
The team beat the USA in the Final.
Fiji also won two of the first three tournaments of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Player of the Final
Fiji Playmaker Jerry Tui was named HSBC Player of the Final after directing his side’s comprehensive 38-0 victory.
The USA was a gallant loser and finished Runner-up for the third consecutive Tournament to hold on to a share of top spot in the series standings.
Losing Semi-Finalists New Zealand and South Africa remain third and fourth respectively.
Fiji Head coach Gareth Baber said, “It was obviously very special (to go back-to-back) and I want to say a big ‘Thank You’ to all the Fijian fans. They certainly lifted the team today (Sunday) and we appreciate everything you have done for us.”
Mark of Excellence Award
The side was also awarded the ‘UL Mark of Excellence Award’ for Sportsmanship ahead of the match as they lifted the ball high into the air, while saying their final prayer.
New Zealand made sure to finish its home campaign on a winning note with a 29-7 victory over South Africa in the Bronze Final.
A battle of wits was played out between the two before New Zealand, much to the delight of their home fans, creating a 19-7 cushion via tries either side of half-time.
Werner Kok’s sin-bin for a late tackle on Andrew Knewstubb was then punished by the All Blacks Sevens.
The home side’s determination shone through as they sent Joe Ravouvou over in the corner before Sam Dickson finished their scoring.
Other wins and losses
Scotland finished fifth, beating Tonga 24-19 while England won the Challenge Trophy after beating Kenya 36-7. In the process, England’s James Rodwell eclipsed Kiwi DJ Forbes’ record for the most appearances ever on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. It was Rodwell’s 90th tournament and he capped the landmark with a try.
Matches in Sydney
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series moves onto Sydney this weekend (February 1-3) where Men’s and Women’s Tournaments will take place.
Sheevas Dayal is our Rugby Correspondent based in Auckland.
Fijians cheering their team at the FMG Stadium in Hamilton on Sunday, January 27, 2019