Fiji take first ever Series title
In the same way that the 2004/05 Series had been heavily punctuated by the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong, so too was the 2005/06 season by the Commonwealth Games Sevens event in Melbourne Australia.
Many of the core sides from the yearly series - England, Scotland, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, South Africa, Australia, Canada and Kenya - as well as Wales and many strong island nations, had been building for a year or more towards the Commonwealth event and, with the extra broadcast interest, Sevens hit the headlines for all the right reasons, even proving the second most popular ticket at behind select track athletics showpieces. In fact, the Telstra Dome sell-out was to prove Sevens rugby's largest ever audience.
England had again got their season off to the ideal start in December 2005, Tom Varndell's pace and finishing too good in Dubai but Fiji hit back in George, William Ryder scoring seven tries en route to their first Series win for a couple of years.
Ryder was again the catalyst in February as he and Neumi Nanuku powered the Fijians to glory in Wellington before England hit back in Los Angeles, David Strettle announcing himself as a star of the future with nine tries.
With the series fascinatingly poised between England and Fiji at the half way stage, and New Zealand's perennial dominance for once taking a back seat, one of the two sides was expected to prosper at the Commonwealth Games. Mathew Tait was in awesome form for Mike Friday's England, Ryder at the top of his game for Serevi's Fiji but Gordon Tietjens' love of the event - and his uncanny ability to unearth stars of the future and secure stalwarts from the past - again came to the fore as the kiwis beat England to claim an astonishing hat-trick of Commonwealth titles for both the coach and his out-going playmaker Amasio Raoma Valence.
The excitement of the Games over, the focus fell back to the England-Fiji duel in the series and in Hong Kong England scored another priceless victory, Ben Gollings' late winner finally edging them past the islanders. However a week later in Singapore Fiji dealt better with the sapping heat and humidity to claw back the initiative.
Paris and London remained. Advantage England? They trailed marginally in the points table but Fiji had all the travelling to do. In the end South Africa romped to Cup victory in Paris, beating an ever-improving Samoa in the final. England's quarter-final loss (four points) was bettered by Fiji's Plate victory (eight points) and the series was all but theirs.
Serevi's men needed only to advance beyond the pools in London to secure a famous first Series crown, and they did. England exited at the semi-final stage and, fittingly, Fiji went on to beat Samoa in the final and crown a stunning return with one last victory.
Samoa's Timoteo Iosua was the season's top try-scorer with 40 and New Zealand had won the marquee event in Melbourne but the Fijians took the series crown home for the first time.