Fiji triumph on Gold Coast
November 26, 2011
Fiji lift the trophy after beating New Zealand in the final of the Gold Coast Sevens © Getty Images
Fiji upset reigning champions New Zealand to win the opening round of the HSBC Sevens World Series as they beat the Kiwis 26-12 in the final of the Gold Coast Sevens.
Fiji were trailing 12-7 at the break after Tomasi Cama scored two tries in reply to a superb score from Fiji's 33-yearold captain Setefano Cakau.
Cakau left the field injured before halftime and Fiji lost another key player when Osea Kolinisau also went off injured. But they took control of the match when Joeli Lutumailagi raced clear to score and Emosi Vucago reaped the rewards for some aggressive defence in New Zealand's 22 to make it 19-12.
Watisoni Votu touched down to complete a victory that puts them on top of the table with 22 points, three clear of New Zealand, as they head to the next round in Dubai next weekend.
New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens was disappointed to see his side eventually lose to a team they had beaten in the pool stages, but conceded that Fiji had come back stronger for the final and deserved their victory.
"Plenty of positives to take, it is our first tournament and we did enough I thought to win this," he said. "But that is Sevens, we might have played well against Fiji in the pool but the team can turn around and do exactly the same to you.
"The boys will be kicking themselves and we had set some good standards. To lose it we are disappointed but you have to take your hats off to Fiji. They were certainly the better team on the night."
New Zealand had appeared hot favourites for the title after beating Australia 26-7, with Cama again scoring a double, while Fiji progressed to the finale thanks to a 24-7 win over South Africa with Vucago, Setefano, Kolinisau and Jimilai Naikadawa all scoring.
Wales beat Samoa 26-15 in the Plate final to take 13 series points. Richard Habberfield crossed twice in the victory after they had been knocked out of the main competition by Fiji at the quarter final stage.
Samoa had earlier ended England's participation in the Plate competition with a 17-14 win at the semi final stage to compound a disappointing start to the series for England, who were knocked out of the main competition by New Zealand in the Cup quarter finals.
Argentina defeated Scotland 17-14 to lift the Bowl title while Papua New Guinea won the Shield final as the beat Japan 31-9
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