THE Fijiana 7s team achieved their best finish ever in the history of the IRB Women's World Sevens Series when they were placed fourth in the China 7s tournament last night.
The Telecom-sponsored national women's team lost to Canada 5-26 in the third/fourth play-off in the Asian leg of the Series.
Earlier in the day, the Iliesa Tanivula coached side lost 0-26 to New Zealand in the semi-final.
Prior to that, Fiji had beaten Russia 12-7 in the quarter-finals at the Guangzhou Uni Town Stadium.
On day one of competition — Saturday, the Fijiana upset England 15-12 in their first match and then lost 24-5 to series leader Australia after which they thrashed Ireland 36-7 to finish second in their pool.
This was the first time the Fijiana had ever won two pool matches on the Series.
Fiji Women's Rugby Union president Paulini Tamatasasa commended the girls on their efforts in the tournament.
"We are very proud of the girls," she said. "It's an overwhelming performance from them."
"I take my hat off to them for their hard work despite the hardships they face, like when they went over there, everything was not in order and some of their gear was not there but they didn't lose sight of the goal and they gave their best on the field."
Tamatasasa said beating England and Russia required a lot of guts and hard work.
"Both teams are core teams in the series and going into this tournament, England was on fifth place and Russia was on fourth place.
"And for our girls to beat them showed to the nation that we have what it takes to perform well on the series just like the national men's team."
After the Fiji men's team won the Tokyo 7s tournament, coach Ben Ryan had predicted the Fijiana would perform well and Tamatasasa backed Ryan's comments.
"This performance backed what Ryan said and sure enough, the Fijiana would soon be a team to be reckoned with."
The Women's Series was introduced last year and Fiji only participated in the China leg where they finished 11th.
Last year, the Fijiana competed in the Women's Rugby World Cup 7s where they won the Bowl final.
A spot in the quarter-finals of the World Cup would have made the Fijiana a core team in the Series.
Earlier this year, the Fijiana was invited to participate in the Dubai leg of the Series where they won the bowl final beating France 14-10.