Fiji win Vancouver Sevens, close in on South Africa

Alasio Sovita Naduva of Fiji jumps over Billy Odhiambo of Kenya for the ball during the Canada Sevens final, the Sixth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series at the BC Place stadium Centre on March 11, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Photo: Ben Nelms/Getty Images/AFP

LOS ANGELES - Fiji exploded for 19 unanswered points in the second half to race away to a 31-12 victory over Kenya Sunday in the final of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Vancouver, Canada.

 

 

Fiji became the first team to notch two tournament titles this season, leapfrogging New Zealand to move from third to second in the series standings behind South Africa.

The Blitzboks, who beat the United States 29-7 in the bronze medal game, maintained their lead on 109 points, with Fiji just eight back at 101 and New Zealand third on 92.

 

 

"I'm speechless, really proud of the boys," Fiji captain Jerry Tuwai said. "The win here in Vancouver gives us something to fight for in the series table. All the teams now are very hard to play against, not like before."

 

 

Sevuloni Mocenacagi scored two tries, the second of which launched Fiji's second-half surge.

Alasio Naduva and Paula Dranisinukula also scored after the break.

 

 

Quickfire tries from each side made it 7-7 two minutes in, Willy Ambaka crossing first for Kenya, only to see Fiji respond immediately with a try from Josua Vakurunabili.

Samuel Oliech swept over to put Kenya back in front. The conversion attempt was short and a Kenyan mistake on the restart was a golden opportunity for Fiji, with Mocenacagi racing over for a try that made it 12-12 at halftime.

Fiji had it well in hand when Ambaka went flying down the left wing apparently set to give Kenya a final try only for Tuwai to wrap him up.

Fiji had edged South Africa 15-12 in the semi-finals courtesy of second-half tries from Kalione Nasoko and Amenoni Nasilasila.

Kenya ended US hopes of building on their victory last weekend in Las Vegas with a dramatic 24-19 semi-final victory over the Eagles.

Kenya had reached the semis with a 12-0 quarter-final win over England, their first over that side since 2011.

In other quarter-finals, the United States shut out New Zealand 17-0 in a match that saw no score until the second half and South Africa staged a second-half fightback to beat Australia 24-19.

The Aussies racked up two tries in the first four minutes and a third converted try by John Porch saw them lead 19-0 at the break.

South Africa responded with two tries from Siviwe Soyizwapi and tries from Cecil Afrika and Dylan Sage -- Sage scoring well after the siren to extinguish Australian hopes.

Fiji signalled their intentions for the day with a 43-7 quarter-final thrashing of Argentina.

 

 

The series now heads to Hong Kong for the seventh round April 6-8.

AFP

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