Electric Fiji put in a performance described as “pleasing” by head coach Gareth Baber as they romped to Cup victory at the HSBC New Zealand Sevens defeating the USA 38-0 in a one-sided final on Sunday, January 27.
Fiji retained their title in New Zealand and won their second successive tournament on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 to share the lead with the USA on top of the ladder after three legs.
“It was pleasing after we put in a performance that we had worked hard for. It was very special to go back-to-back,” Baber told the Fiji Times after Fiji became the first team to retain the title twice.
Fiji and the USA share first place in the standings with 57 points followed by New Zealand, 54, and South Africa, 44. The teams now move to Australia for the Sydney Sevens on February 2-3.
The stakes are high this season with the top four teams in the standings after the 10th and final leg is played in Paris in June automatically qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
WORLD CLASS OFFLOADING
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) January 27, 2019
Fiji, gold medallists at the Rio Olympics, looked unbeatable all weekend in Hamilton cruising through their pool games before beating Canada 33-7 in the quarter-finals, hammered South Africa 29-7 in the semi-final before dominating the USA in the Cup final.
The Eagles, who were competing in their third final this season, once again ended second best as they struggled to find answers against the rampant Fijians for whom Player of the Final Jerry Tuwai and Kalione Nasoko scored a brace each.
New Zealand had to settle for third place with a 29-7 victory over South Africa in the bronze final. The hosts had earlier been unable to unravel the defence of in-form USA who won the semi-final 17-7.
New Zealand had led 7-5 at the break thanks to Regan Ware’s interception try against the run of play. But a yellow card to Vilimoni Koroi for an illegal tackle midway through the second half left New Zealand one man down and the USA made the most of the opportunity with Stephen Tomasin and Carlin Isles clinically touching down to give the USA their first-ever berth in 18 years in a Cup final in New Zealand.
Earlier in the day, USA had to withstand a ferocious challenge from Scotland in the quarterfinals before emerging 19-14 winners. New Zealand defeated Australia in a Trans-Tasman affair, 24-17, while South Africa held their nerve to get past Samoa 28-19.