HSBC London 7s: Fiji defeats South Africa to win title
4 June, 2018, 6:15 am
FIJI withstood a determined South African outfit to win the final of the HSBC London 7s at Twickenham Stadium.
Fiji won 21-17 to end a six year drought at the tournament.
South Africa coach, Neil Powell was happy with his side’s performance.
“After losing against Samoa last night and coming into the second day with only 11 players, the guys showed a lot of heart out there,” Powell said.
“Not just in the final but also the semi-finals and quarters. For us it’s all about those inches, to take away inches from teams and to make sure everybody understands their roles and responsibilities on the field, especially in defence.
” We pride ourselves on defence but unfortunately we let in a few tries against Fiji but that’s the quality that they have.”
Ironically, Fiji is implementing what the Blitzboks did last year which is to be consistent.
“We’ve tried to emulate what South Africa did last year in terms on the consistency – they were fantastic last year and credit to them again here as they pushed us all the way,” coach Gareth Baber said.
“By the bounce of the ball, it could have gone the other way. We’re in a good position. The boys all know each other and are from similar villages back in Fiji and when they come together it’s quite easy to settle people in.
” They worked extremely hard and to settle in the way they have has been really good. Picking 12 players is the toughest bit – I’ve has some difficult conversations in the week. But credit to them, they show humility in everything they do and they are good people to work with.
“They realise it is about the team and not the individuals.”
Fiji started the match a man down with forward Sevuloni Mocenacagi copping a yellow card at kick off for tackling a man in the air.
South Africa capitalised on this with Stedman Gans drawing first blood in the match.
The try was converted. Josua Tuisova bulldozed his way through the South Africa defence to score Fiji’s first try which was converted.
The two sides were tied 7 all at half time.
Paula Dranisinukula opened the scoreline in the second half.
South Africa replied with a try to Ruhan Nel.
But Jasa Veremalua widened the score margin again combining with Josua Vakurunabuli to score Fiji’s third try.
A try from Zain Davids in the dying minutes of the game was not enough to spoil Fiji’s party.
Fiji has now won an unprecedented four tournaments in a row.
It now leads the series with 167 points with South Africa at second place with 160 points.
Fiji needs to at least win the bronze medal at the HSBC Paris 7s to gain 17 points and win the series.