SPORTS

Early Scare, Fiji Survive

The Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team bounced back from a 22-19 shock loss to Kenya to beat New Zealand 26-17 to top Pool A of the Paris 7s. Head coach
11 Jun 2018 11:42
Early Scare, Fiji Survive
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s captain Seremaia Tuwai on attack against Kenya while Amenoni Nasilasila looks at the Stade Jean Bouin on June 9, 2018. Photo: Martin Seras Lima

The Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team bounced back from a 22-19 shock loss to Kenya to beat New Zealand 26-17 to top Pool A of the Paris 7s.

Head coach Gareth Baber reiterated to the players about the importance of winning kick-offs and the need to hold on to possession.

A change of decision to rest captain, Seremaia Tuwai and to send him in the second spell against the Kenyans did not work as they romped to a 15-0 lead.

The slippery ground conditions and the reluctance of the forwards to tussle for the ball at the breakdown did not help as the Kenyans dominated possession.

Lanky prop Semi Kunatani sliced through the Kenyan defence to score as they trailed 15-7 at halftime.

At the resumption of play the Kenyans extended the lead to 22-7 while the Fijians fought back with tries to props Josua Vakurinabili and Kalione Nasoko.

However, it was a changed Fijian side against New Zealand as they fought hard to win and top the pool.

That set the stage an exhilarating finale to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series as the top two teams in the standings, Fiji and South Africa, successfully secured their places in the quarter-finals.

England on Fiji, while South Africa face Spain, Ireland play Canada and New Zealand are drawn against USA in what promises to be a hotly contested quarter-final line-up.

Fiji, who hold a seven-point lead over South Africa at the top of the standings, will become series champions if they reach the podium in Paris.

It was not plain sailing on Saturday as both series leaders were made to work hard for their places in the quarterfinals on a day of surprising results which saw every team drop points in the pool stage.

Also in the pools South Africa lost their opening match against Scotland 14-12, but bounced back to record victories over Russia 21-19, and Canada 28-0.

Invitational team Ireland continued their outstanding form from last weekend in London where they claimed the bronze medal, remaining unbeaten to top Pool C with wins against Spain 14-5, Australia 24-14 and a thrilling 19-19 draw with Wales.

USA pipped England to top Pool D on point’s difference after a second half comeback in the final match of the day secured a 21-21 draw between the nations who had both beaten France and Argentina.

A noisy and enthusiastic French crowd were treated to a feast of rugby sevens action as the men’s and women’s events are combined in Paris to create a grand finale to the series.

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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