Derenalagi In, Continues 7s Tradition

  Young Meli Derenalagi stepped in for the injured Jerry Tuwai as he made his debut at the Dubai 7s yesterday. In the 5th Place semi-final, despite Tuwai’s absence, the
03 Dec 2018 11:31
Derenalagi In, Continues 7s Tradition
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s forward Meli Derenalagi is welcomed by Vatemo Ravouvou (12) during the 5th Place semi-final against Argentina in Dubai on December 2, 2018. Photo: Ian Muir


Young Meli Derenalagi stepped in for the injured Jerry Tuwai as he made his debut at the Dubai 7s yesterday.

In the 5th Place semi-final, despite Tuwai’s absence, the team’s offloading brilliance, scorching pace and neat footwork handed them a handsome 24-7 advantage after seven minutes.

Marcos Moroni led the way for Argentina with his athletic try off the first kick and his try at the start of the second half, but Fiji had too much to handle despite finishing the 31-21 win with six players after Amenoni Nasilasila was red-carded.

Derenalagi in an earlier interview indicated that he hopes to continue the 7s tradition his chiefly village of Nawaka in Nadi were renowned for.

“Rugby is in our blood for sure and it has been a while for someone from our family in Nawaka to continue on that family tradition,” the 20-year-old said.

“The last one was Semisi Naevo and it is good to see that I’m being chosen to be part of the team and I thank the selectors for it.”

He was named by head coach Gareth Baber as the 13th man and would only come in once a player is injured.



Samoa left Dubai with the Challenge Trophy in their luggage after showing great resilience and focus in a hard-fought 33-24 defeat of France.

With a 21-7 cushion after the first half, Samoa had looked fairly comfortable.

However, an early second-half yellow card to Siaosi Asofolau allowed France space to play with and they made the most of it, sparking to live with tries from Stephen Parez, Jonathan Laugel and Tavite Veredamu.

The problem for Jerome Daret’s men was that their opponents kept their score ticking over too and ultimately Samoa’s faster start helped them to finish on top.



New Zealand’s record 10th appearance in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens Cup final saw them end their title drought at the 7he Sevens Stadium, the 21-5 victory over USA giving the All Blacks Sevens their first title here since 2009.

They had gone into the final with only nine fit players with captain Scott Curry among the injured quartet and came up against a USA side playing in their first Cup final in Dubai only a year after losing all five of their matches.

It took five minutes for the first try to come in a pulsating and energy-sapping final, Tone Ng Shiu powering through the clutches of Ben Pinkelman with Andrew Knewstubb adding the conversion for a 7-0 half-time score.

New Zealand lost Luke Masirewa to the sin-bin and in his absence the USA hit back,

Stephen Tomasin running in the try but captain Madison Hughes’ conversion went just wide of the left upright.

There was to be no first Dubai title for USA, though, as tries by Dylan Collier and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black ensured it would be New Zealand celebrating a long-awaited sixth Dubai title.

“There wasn’t much said (before the final), said Knewstubb, who was named the HSBC Player of the Final.

Meanwhile, England took out the bronze medal for the third year in a row after they pipped Australia 15-14.



Challenge Trophy quarter-finals: Samoa 40-12 Japan, Spain 26-19 Kenya, Canada 38-5 Zimbabwe, France 38-17 Wales; Cup quarterfinals: South Africa 5-22 England, New Zealand 21-7 Scotland, Australia 38-0 Argentina, Fiji 14-24 USA; 13th place semi-finals: Japan 26-19 Kenya, Zimbabwe 10-14 Wales;

Challenge Trophy semi-finals: Samoa 26-22 Spain, Canada 12-28 France; 5th place semi-finals: South Africa 29-0 Scotland, Argentina 21-31 Fiji: Cup semi-finals: England 5-7 New Zealand, Australia 17-22 USA: 13th place play-off: Japan 7-31 Wales; Challenge Trophy final: Samoa 33-24 France; 5th place play-off: South Africa 19-24 Fiji; Bronze final: England 15-14 Australia; Cup final: New Zealand 21-5 USA


– Edited by Sheldon Chanel



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