Superb Fiji storm to Gold Coast Sevens title
Fiji's Sevens stars responded to the hopes and dreams of a nation by beating reigning HSBC Sevens World Series champions New Zealand in the final of the Gold Coast Sevens 26-12 to take an early lead in the new season.
The Fijians travel to Dubai next weekend for round two of the Series with 22 points, three clear of New Zealand and five ahead of third-placed South Africa.
After emotional anthems, Fiji's inspirational 33-year-old captain Setefano Cakau set the tone for a superb final when he threw a dummy and raced 50 metres to put his side into a 7-0 lead.
Cakau left the field injured before half time, and not before Tomasi Cama had cut the deficit to two points and then put New Zealand 12-7 ahead when he set up an attacking move and then latched onto Tim Mikkelson's raking run to score his second before half time.
After the break the Fijians lost a further key player in Osea Kolinisau but they levelled when Joeli Lutumailagi raced clear to score, and a minute later they turned over the ball in New Zealand's 22 and found Emosi Vucago in space to lead 19-12.
Watisoni Votu crossed to cap a thrilling attacking build-up and the Fijians led 26-12, a lead they held onto until the final whistle sparked mass celebration.
Earlier New Zealand had beaten hosts Australia 26-7 with Cama scoring twice and Fiji had beaten South Africa 24-7 with tries from Jimilai Naikadawa, Osea Kolinisau, Setefano Cakau and Emosi Vucago.
South Africa did recover, though, to beat Australia in the new play-off for third place 17-5 with tries from Chris Dry, Johannes Prinsloo and Paul Delport.
Young Welsh too strong for Samoa in Plate
A young Welsh sqaud defeated Samoa 26-15 in the Plate final to collect 13 Series points. Richard Habberfield crossed twice in the victory as Paul John's side recovered from their Cup quarter-final defeat to Fiji to life the Plate.
Wales' semi-final was a physical encounter, which they won 14-12 against France as Habberfield and Richard Smith both scored tries in the victory.
Samoa also encounter a bruising semi-final which they edged 17-14 against England.
Paul Perez began the scoring with Samoa's first two tries either side of a Mat Turner effort. Taulagi Afamasaga extended the lead before Turner's second gave England a glimmer of hope, but Stephen Betham's men held on.
Los Pumas win three to lift Bowl on day two
Argentina defeated Scotland 17-14 to lift the Bowl title and collect eight Series points thanks to Manuel Montero's sixth and seventh tries of the weekend.
Earlier Los Pumas defeated Tonga 24-15, which included a great individual effort from Agustin Migliore out wide to secure the victory, and Scotland beat USA 19-5 with Ross Miller crossing twice in the semi-finals.
Nicolas Fernandez Lobbe's side had come from 12-7 behind to eventually beat Japan 38-12 in the quarter-finals thanks to two tries from Javier Ortega Desio, whilst a James Fleming hat-trick helped Scotland beat Niue 36-0.
USA ended the Bowl quarter-finals with their 24-5 victory against Papua New Guinea including two tries from Nick Edwards whilst Tonga beat Kenya in the day's first match 7-5 to set up their semi-final against Argentina.
PNG claim Shield
Shane Howarth's Papua New Guinea beat Japan 31-19 in the Shield final to collect three Series points, and lift the first silverware of the new Series.
Papua New Guinea reached the final after a 38-0 victory against Niue thanks to 16 points (two tries and three conversions) from Albert Levi.
Japan booked their place in the Shield final after Katsuyuki Sakai snatched a dramatic last minute 19-14 victory against core side Kenya.
DAY ONE HIGHLIGHTS!
- The RFU »
- Welsh R.U. »
- Scottish R.U. »
- Fédération Française de Rugby »
- Australian R.U. »
- New Zealand R.F.U. »
- Japan Rugby Football Union »
- United States of America Rugby Football Union »
- Union Argentina de Rugby »
- Samoa Rugby Union »
- Tonga RFU »
- Fiji R.U. »
- South Africa Rugby Union »
- Niue Rugby Union »
- Kenya Rugby Football Union »
- Papua New Guinea Rugby Football Union »