South Africa Edge Out Fiji Again

Oceania Rugby, Mon Mar 6, 2017 12:29PM

World Rugby Sevens World Series: Las Vegas. South Africa secured their fourth tournament win of the 2016-17 Series after beating Fiji 19-12 at the Sam Boyd Stadium.


The victory gives them a 24-point buffer at the top of the series standings, with Fiji in second place and England in third following their fifth place finish in Vegas. 


New Zealand was beaten into third spot by the hosts USA who scored after the whistle to secure a popular 19-15 win in the Bronze Final. Australia finished sixth after losing the Fifth Place play-off to England 7-10. Samoa took on Kenya in the Trophy Final but the Africans proved too strong running out 21-14 winners.


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The final itself was a tense match-up as Olympic champions Fiji came into the match chasing their first tournament win of the series. Masivesi Dakuwaqa scored from close range early on in the match following a mistake from Ruhan Nel, but Blitzboks playmaker Cecil Afrika soon replied for the series leaders after latching onto a pass from Siviwe Soyizwapi.


Powerful forward Chris Dry added a try early on in the second half, before HSBC Player of the Final Rosko Specman scorched the turf to score an incredible individual try. Waisea Nacuqu struck back for Fiji but the game was out of sight.


The Blitzboks have finished as series runners-up for four consecutive years yet have had their best start ever to a world series with victories in Dubai, Sydney, Wellington and now Las Vegas.





RSA 20-17 USA


Hosts USA were on track for their first ever tournament win on home soil and started strongly against South Africa in the semi-finals. Mike Friday's side scored one of the tries of the tournament after a bursting break from Folau Niua was eventually finished off by Stephen Tomasin. Shortly after South Africa's Chris Dry was given a yellow card for not being ten metres back on a penalty, and USA immediately capitalised through Niua. 


South Africa hit back through Dylan Sage and Ruhan Nel, to make it 10-12 at half-time and then it was powerful forward Werner Kok who kick-started the Blitzboks' second half charge with a great solo effort. A scything run from Maka Unufe helped set up Durutalo to bring the score back to make it 17-15 to USA. In the dying minutes Sage went over for another try and despite USA stealing the ball at a line out five metres out from the Blitzboks line, they were unable to convert the points. 


Fiji 19-14 New Zealand 


After a relatively straight forward quarter-final against Canada, Fiji had to produce some of their best rugby of the tournament to beat New Zealand in their Cup semi-final.


A penalty try was awarded to New Zealand early on after Fiji's Kalione Nasoko was given a yellow card for a high tackle. Isaac Te Tamaki added New Zealand's second try, after shrugging off a host of Fiij defenders before the dancing feet of Jerry Tuwai gave the Pacific islanders their first score, when he broke through the defence and offloaded to Mesulame Kunavula.


The formidable Jerry Tuwai used his dancing feet to jink through the defence and set up Mesulame Kunavula, making it 14-5 to New Zealand at half-time. Joeli Lutumailagi burst through early on in the second half from five metres out and stretched to score under the posts. At 14-12 to New Zealand, powerhouse forward Masivesi Dakuwaqa clinched the victory for Gareth Baber's side, romping in from 30 metres out.

Last updated: Monday May 15, 2017 10:10AM
Author: Greg Thomas