Olympic champions Fiji returned to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in style with a stunning victory in Singapore.
New Zealand claim silver on their first outing of the 2022 Series and Australia secure bronze. Series leaders South Africa’s winning run comes to an end as the men’s teams move on to Vancouver on 16-17 April.
Fiji returned to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in style with a stunning victory in Singapore, overcoming New Zealand 28-17 in a pulsating final to claim the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens title.
beat impressive Ireland 21-19 to clinch a hard fought bronze medal and remain
in contention for the 2022 Series title.
to Singapore, South Africa had won all four rounds of the HSBC World Rugby
Sevens Series 2022 to date - and six in total in a row - but in Singapore’s
National Stadium it was to be Fiji’s moment.
last time anyone but South Africa had won a men’s tournament on the big stage
was in March 2020 in Vancouver when New Zealand took top honours.
Blitzboks won the two events in Vancouver and Edmonton in the shortened 2021
Series and had won the first four competitions this year in Dubai (2), Malaga
having seen their 36-match unbeaten run ended on Saturday evening by the USA in
the pool stage, they lost again on Sunday to Fiji in the Cup quarter-finals and
then to Argentina in the fifth place semi-final.
meant that day two in Singapore was all about who would join the winners circle
for 2022 - and it was to be Fiji.
the weekend, Fiji's Vuiviawa Naduvalo, on debut, led the way with 10 tries and
in the final they were too strong for New Zealand.
start to 2022 had not been so strong and they had to miss rounds three and four
in Spain, but here they showed they are back in business.
of the Final Naduvalo said: “I am so happy, it has taken a lot of sacrifice for
me to get this far and that is why I was so emotional during our national
anthem. This victory is for my family, they are my ‘why’, they drive me on and
I want to make them proud.”
being runners-up, it was great to see New Zealand back on the Series for the
first time this year - and it will be interesting to see how they build on this
a repeat of the Olympic final from Tokyo 2020, Fiji and New Zealand met here.
Fiji had won the gold medal in Japan last year after a 27-12 victory and matches
between these two powerhouses are always classics.
Naduvalo scored his ninth try of the weekend after two minutes to give Fiji the
lead in this one with Kaminieli Rasaku converting. Waisea Nacuqu then scored -
and converted - Fiji’s second try and they had a healthy 14-0 lead. Just before
the break, Joseva Talacolo scored Fiji’s third try, converted by Rasaku, and it
got worse for New Zealand as Leroy Carter was yellow carded.
Zealand needed the first try in the second half to give themselves any hope and
a score came from Regan Ware, but it was not converted. With Jerry Tuwai
pulling the strings, Fiji’s fourth try came through Naduvalo, his 10th of an
amazing two days. Rasaku converted.
Moses Leo try - converted by Akuila Rokolisoa - and then an unconverted effort
from Caleb Tangitau for New Zealand made the final score 28-17.
captain Tevita Daugunu said: “It was a very good final. We knew we had to keep
the ball away from New Zealand and for most of this final we did just that.
team stuck to the game plan perfectly and with it being Palm Sunday back home
we hope this has made our family, friends and supporters happy.”
raced into a 14-0 lead in the first half, but far from their march to bronze
being easy it went all the way with Ireland showing they really are one of the
emerging rugby sevens nations.
Toole, Ben Marr and Dietrich Roache tries - and three conversions from the
latter - had Australia 21-14 up heading into the last minute, but with Nick
Malouf in the sin bin, Ireland took advantage.
great finish from Andrew Smith out wide made it 21-19, but the tough conversion
attempt hit the upright and the Australians held on to take a medal from a hard
Corey Toole of Australia was the DHL Impact Player of the Tournament.