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Rugby Sevens: Fiji lead World Series ahead of London finale

Fiji celebrate their fourth win in eight rounds of the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series. Photo: Martin Seras Lima / World Rugby.

Fiji celebrate their fourth win of the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series. Photo: Martin Seras Lima / World Rugby.

May 11, 2015: Fiji beat defending champions New Zealand 24-17 to win the Glasgow Sevens and snatch the lead in the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series, crowning a weekend in which the two finalists and South Africa booked spots at Rio 2016.

 

Fiji were 12-5 down at half-time against New Zealand at Scotstoun Stadium before Apisai Domolailai came off the bench to score two second-half tries, as Ben Ryan’s men secured their fourth Cup title in eight rounds.

 

Fiji top the standings with 147 points, five ahead of South Africa, having beaten the Blitzboks 15-0 in their quarter-final. South Africa edged hosts Scotland 12-10 in the Plate final.

 

After his side leapfrogged South Africa going into this weekend’s final round at the London Sevens, Ryan was eyeing up a win at the 80,000-seat Twickenham Stadium as Fiji bid to become the only team other than New Zealand to win multiple series.

 

“This is the most amount of wins – four – that we’ve done in one season,” Ryan said. “We have a fit team and we want to win back-to-back tournaments. We have put ourselves in a great position to win our first World Series in 10 years.”

 

New Zealand have 139 points, so are still in with a chance of adding to their 12 titles in the 15 previous seasons of the World Series. Fiji (2005-06), South Africa (2008-09) and Samoa (2009-10) are the only other series winners.

 

The All Blacks Sevens confirmed their Olympic Games qualification on Sunday, joining South Africa and Fiji who qualified on day one ahead of their quarter-final.

 

Sir Gordon Tietjens, the long-time New Zealand coach, said: “The World Series was important, but qualification for the Olympics was the goal. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy to finish in that top four, so to know we’re there is really pleasing and you can start seeing yourself going to Rio now.”

 

England finished third in Glasgow by beating USA 24-19 and moved to 117 points to increase their lead over Australia (101) in the battle for the fourth and final Olympic qualification spot, which they could secure in front of home fans this weekend.

 

Draw for London Sevens

Pool A – Fiji, Canada, Argentina, Samoa

Pool B –New Zealand, Australia, Wales, Japan

Pool C – England, Scotland, Kenya, Brazil

Pool D – USA, South Africa, France, Portugal

 

Source: World Rugby (www.worldrugby.org); Editing by SportAsia

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