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Fiji Time: 6:33 PM on Sunday 31 August

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IRB 7s history

Arin Kumar
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

IT was a fitting parting gift for speedster Samisoni Viriviri when he was announced the 2014 IRB Sevens Player of the Year yesterday.

The 26-year-old became the first Fiji 7s player to win the award since its introduction in 2004.

Viriviri will join French club Montpellier later this year to feature in the Top 14 competition.

The flying winger finished as the top try scorer in the 2013/2014 HSBC Sevens World Series with 52 tries to his name this season and was also named in the 2014 IRB Sevens Dream Team.

Viriviri beat fellow nominees Kyle Brown of South Africa, Tim Mikkelson of New Zealand and Tom Mitchell of England to the award.

"I am very proud to win this award and be the first Fijian to be named IRB Sevens Player of the Year," he told irb.com after his name was announced at a function after the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham which was won by eventual series winners New Zealand.

"I would like to thank God, my coach, my teammates and also my Mum."

Vodafone Fiji 7s team coach Ben Ryan spoke highly of Viriviri and applauded him for his efforts.

"Sami has had a breathtaking season," he told irb.com

"He's scored some incredible tries and defended superbly well — I think I can't remember one time in this whole season when somebody went round him.

"He's played almost every minute and got better and better, firmly establishing himself as a world-class Sevens winger."

Ryan said Viriviri deserved the award.

"I guess it is valid because he has been the most lethal finisher in the World Series consistently and the other team coaches have also seen how good he has been as an all-round rugby player.

"His defence and all round game have been quite outstanding. He joins a long list of sensational players who have done that.

"And it's amazing he is the first Fijian and that is incredible. I hope that we produce another couple in the next few seasons."

The Englishman hinted Viriviri could return to the sevens scene next season.

"We have got the IRB Regulation Nine that will help us hugely. So Sami will be returning back to play for us next year along with other boys who are now playing T14 along with other things like that."

IRB Sevens Player of the Year - Roll of honour:

2014 Samisoni Viriviri, Fiji;

2013 Tim Mikkelson, New Zealand;

2012 Tomasi Cama, New Zealand;

2011 Cecil Afrika, South Africa;

2010 Mikaele Pesamino, Samoa;

2009 Ollie Phillips, England;

2008 DJ Forbes, New Zealand;

2007 Afeleke Pelenise, New Zealand;

2006 Uale Mai, Samoa;

2005 Orene Ai'i, New Zealand;

2004 Simon Amor, England


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