Mon, Mar 30, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Fiji overpower New Zealand to win Hong Kong Sevens

AFP, HONG KONG

Fiji won the Hong Kong Sevens yesterday, tearing through defending champions New Zealand 33-19 in a powerful display.

With the backing of a roaring Hong Kong Stadium crowd, Fiji made up for last year’s heartbreak semi-final loss to England and went one step closer to qualifying for the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro next year.

New Zealand struggled to get into the match as Fiji pounded through their defense.

The All Blacks were down 21-5 at halftime after Savenaca Rawaca put two tries on the board.

New Zealand pushed through with a pair of tries from Scott Curry, but Fiji kept finding gaps and a surge down the left wing by Vatemo Ravouvou sealed the match 33-19.

Fiji have the most-ever wins at the Hong Kong Sevens, with yesterday’s match their 15th triumph.

The top four teams in the Sevens World Series secure a place in Brazil, where Sevens is to make its Olympic debut.

Hong Kong — celebrating its 40th edition this year — is the sixth tournament in the nine-stage series, which ends in London in May.

New Zealand had only narrowly edged Samoa 15-14 to book their place in the final, while Fiji put on an impressive show against series leaders South Africa to win their semi 21-15.

South Africa went on to beat Samoa 26-5 in the playoff for third place.

Fiji only just pushed past England 14-12 earlier in the day in an intense quarter-final which went down to the wire.

England and Australia are tussling for the crucial fourth spot in the series standings with three tournaments to go. South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji are well ahead on points in the top three spots.

Australia fell to South Africa 7-5 in their quarter-final, but beat England in the runners-up plate tournament, stretching the series points gap in fourth, with England in fifth.

Australia took the plate final, beating the US 21-17 in a phenomenal battle against the surging speed of their opponents.

Of the lower-ranked trophies, Kenya took the shield by beating Japan 26-7 and Scotland won the bowl, downing France 26-5.

Russia won the qualifier tournament and are to play as one of the 15 top-ranked “core” teams in the next series.

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