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Pressure up

Arin Kumar
Monday, March 24, 2014

A LAST-minute try by Waisea Nacuqu helped Fiji win the Tokyo 7s tournament and move an inch closer to HSBC Sevens World Series leaders South Africa and New Zealand.

Clad in black, the Vodafone-sponsored side defeated South Africa 33-26 in a hard-fought final at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium to lift the title they last won in 2000.

The foundation was laid from the time the national anthem was sung. All players had their eyes fixed on the Fiji flag but their minds on the title.

Fiji started the match on a high note with tries to Emosi Mulevoro and Samisoni Viriviri to lead 12-0 early in the match

But three unanswered tries in four minutes to South Africa saw Fiji fall behind 12-19.

Benito Masilevu scored in the last-minute of first-half to give Mulevoro an easy conversion to level the scores 19-all.

Mid-way in the second-half, former captain Setefano Cakau showed sheer pace to outpace Frankie Horn and score under the posts to put Fiji ahead but a try from Justin Geduld tied the scores at 26-all.

Then in the last-minute of play, a back pass from Pio Tuwai was picked up by Waisea Nacuqu who ran past defenders to score under the posts and give Fiji the victory they had been searching for.

Captain Osea Kolinisau admitted his side made some mistakes which almost cost them the match.

"We knew we had fallen behind and had to play catch-up but we kept possession and came back into the match," he said.

Coach Ben Ryan echoed similar sentiments saying Fiji fell asleep mid-way in the match.

"They (Fiji) started really well and we went to sleep. But we woke up and it was a great game," he said.

"To finish above South Africa is a great way to end the two days. We will keep working hard and if we can knock over more trophies then it will give us inertia for next year. I'm really proud."

Fiji still remains in third place with the win on 95 points, New Zealand is second with 114 points and South Africa now leads with 116 points.

The win has sealed Fiji's spot in pool A of the Hong Kong 7s where they will face Kenya, Wales and Sri Lanka.





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