SPORTS

Series Winners To Be Decided In L.A.

South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Fiji are contenders for the top spot
31 May 2022 12:15
Series Winners To Be Decided In L.A.
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s halfback Philipo Bukayaro scores a try against England in the Cup quarterfinal of the London Sevens in Twickenham, England, on May 29,2022. Photo: World Rugby

The Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team has a slim chance of winning the 2022 HSBC World Sevens Series.

World Rugby had introduced a new format for this Series because of the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Rugby stated: “To take into account of the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which affected some teams ability to participate in some rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022.

“In the interests of fairness, a unique ranking points system was applied to the 2022 Series, which sees only the best seven out of the nine tournament results count towards the Series ranking for each team.

“Great Britain participated in the opening two rounds of the Series in Dubai, as part of the standing agreement to play the full calendar year 2021. This is before it reverted to compete as national unions for the remainder of the 2022 Series, with England, Scotland and Wales participating in the men’s series.

“England, Scotland and Wales received 33% each of Great Britain’s points from rounds one and two in Dubai.”

Under this format the Fijians is placed in fourth place behind South Africa, Australia and Argentina.

The decider is set for the USA Sevens to be played at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles, from August 27-28.

If South Africa and Australia reach the Cup quarterfinal then Fiji has no chance of winning the Series title.

 

Pools

The Australians won the London Sevens by beating New Zealand 19-14 in the Cup final.

Australia now top Pool A of the USA Sevens where they Spain, Argentina and Japan. Pool B has got New Zealand, South Africa, USA and Canada.

Fiji is in Pool C where they face Ireland, France and Wales. Samoa leads Pool D as they take on England, Scotland and Kenya.

 

Stunned Fijians

The Fijian 7s team blew away a 19-5 lead to loss to New Zealand 22-19 in the Cup semifinal of the London Sevens on Sunday.

Poor tackling and failure to make use of their try scoring opportunities let the Fijians down.

New Zealand came from 14 points behind to end their opponents’ 19-match winning run at Twickenham in dramatic fashion.

Fiji started strongly as Viwa Naduvalo crossed twice, either side of a score from in-form New Zealand flyer Ngarohi McGarvey-Black. Waisea Nacuqu added a third before half time to leave the Fiji’s large support in delirium at a 19-5 lead.

But the Kiwis soon mustered a stirring comeback, sparked by Kitiona Vai’s try in the corner early in the second half.

Joe Webber then held off a tackle to offload to Dylan Collier and send him under the posts, narrowing the gap to two points. The turnaround was complete when Akuila Rokolisoa caught out the Fijian defence by darting down the blindside from the back of a ruck to make it 22-19.

Fiji responded as Nacuqu powered over in the corner under two tackles, but a TMO review showed he had lost control of the ball, and it was New Zealand who progressed to their 100th Series Cup final.

 

Bronze final

Fiji came out on top in a thrilling battle for bronze against Samoa, running out 31-26 winners in a try fest to keep their Series title hopes alive with a fourth consecutive medal.

Paul Scanlan almost immediately put Samoa in front, but Fiji issued a strong response as Elia Canakaivata showed immense strength to bulldoze through two tackles and reach the line.

This was before Napolioni Bolaca dotted down twice as the Flying Fijians put on a showcase of pace and power.

A wonderful round-the-corner offload sent Pilipo Bukayaro through for Fiji’s fourth try and his sixth of the weekend, but Jeremaia Matana’s yellow card offered the Samoans a route back into the game and they took advantage, as Vaa Apelu Maliku and Uaina Sione crossed to make it a five-point game.

Josua Vakurunabili was next to cross and extend Fiji’s lead once again, but Maliko raced onto a kick in behind to score his second and reduce the deficit once more to set-up a thrilling finale where Fiji did enough to hold on for victory.

Feedbackleonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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