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Fiji finishes with Sevens rugby win

Reigning Olympic gold medalists in sevens rugby Fiji finished the eighth round of the World Rugby Series London 7s tournament at Twickenham Stadium in third position, after overcoming a resilient Samoa 31-26 in a red hot bronze final match.

Fiji scored five tries with Napolioni Bolaca scoring twice and one each to Elia Canakaivata, Filipo Bukayaro and Josua Vakurunabili.

The side had succumbed to arch-nemesis New Zealand 19-22 in the semifinals before walloping England 36-10 in the main cup quarters.

Meanwhile, Oceania heavyweights Australia defeated the Kiwis 19-14 in their first cup final victory over the All Blacks Sevens since their triumph at Brisbane in 2002.

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The player of the final Henry Paterson starred for the Aussies with a hat trick of tries including the dramatic winner in extra time.

He also made a try-saving tackle that prevented New Zealand from winning after the hooter in regulation time.

Tied 14-all after the fulltime hooter, Caleb Tangitau of New Zealand looked to be sprinting free on the outside but Paterson tackled him into touch forcing the match into sudden death extra time.

The ensuing kick off was tapped back beautifully by Josh Turner and it was spread wide for Paterson to run in and secure their eighth title in WRSS history.

Reigning Olympic gold medalists in sevens rugby Fiji finished the eighth round of the World Rugby Series London 7s tournament. Picture: Manu Samoa Sevens Facebook

Australian captain Nick Malouf was thrilled after lifting the trophy.

“We’ve worked so hard for this so I’m glad we’ve finally got the reward that I feel like we’ve deserved,” he said.

“We’ve still got LA to go but it’s a good result for all the hard work we’re putting in.

“This is the first Cup final that I’ve won or anyone in this group has won.

“I’m just so proud of the performance from our boys.”

Australia’s last gold medal win in the series was in 2018 and with their stunning gold-medal victory at the London 7s, it has evoked a battle for the WRSS title race to the wire.

Long time table leaders South Africa reclaimed pole position after edging out Ireland 14-5 in the fifth place playoff and lead with 124 points, two ahead of Australia on 122; Argentina is third with 118 points after an abysmal ninth-place finish while Fiji is in fourth position with 104 points.

The season-ending two-day Los Angeles tournament takes place at the Dignity Health Sports Park on August 27-28.

 

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