Fiji claim first-ever Dubai crown
November 30, 2013
Fiji lift the trophy in Dubai © Getty Images
Fiji claimed their first title in the Dubai leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series after beating an injury-hit South Africa 29-17 to cap a thrilling day of rugby which saw them thrash tournament favourites New Zealand in the semi-finals.
While it is the first time Fiji have tasted victory in Dubai it is the third trophy in four years for new coach Ben Ryan and his first piece of silverware since joining the islanders from England. The win moves Fiji to within four points of World Series leaders New Zealand, who Ryan's side dismantled 44-0 in a breathtaking semi-final.
South Africa had come from behind to beat England in the other semi-final, and it looked like they would need another fightback in the final as they went in at half-time trailing 19-0 - Fiji inspired largely by two Benito Masilevu tries. The Springboks battled back in the second half but the deficit proved to be too great as Leo Naikasau and Emosi Mulevoro put the icing on the cake for Fiji.
In the third-place play-off, New Zealand recovered from their humiliation to Fiji by beating England 17-14 thanks to Tim Mikkelson's late try.
Argentina ensured victory in the Plate by beating Wales 21-5, while Australia held off Portugal to secure the Bowl title. France claimed the Shield by beating Spain 28-17.
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