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Rugby Sevens: Fiji win first World Series title since 2006; Japan down

Fiji beat South Africa by 10 points to win the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series. Photos: World Rugby / Martin Seras Lima.

Fiji beat South Africa by 10 points to win the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series. Photos: World Rugby/Martin Seras Lima.

May 18, 2015: Fiji beat South Africa 19-7 in a decisive Cup quarter-final at the Marriott London Sevens to secure their first HSBC Sevens World Series title since winning it for the first time in 2006.

 

USA went on to secure their first-ever Cup title at Twickenham, where a record 116,219 fans turned out over the two days of the ninth and final leg of the 2014-15 series.

 

Two tries from Savenaca Rawaca secured Fiji’s win over South Africa before Ben Ryan’s side lost 33-7 to Australia in the semis, then bounced back to beat hosts England – who secured the fourth Olympic spot – 26-12 in the third-place playoff. Fiji finished the series with 164 points, ahead of South Africa (154) and New Zealand (152).

 

“I can’t really put it into words,” said Ryan, whose side won four of the nine rounds. “We were just focusing on the South Africa game, and deservedly won and took the [series] title.

 

“The boys were very overly emotional in the changing room and I had to control them a bit and remind them to start smiling and that this is supposed to be fun. It was certainly a topsy-turvy weekend.”

 

It certainly was, with the USA winning their first-ever Cup trophy by defeating Australia 45-22 in the final. Two tries from Danny Barrett and Maka Unufe helped Mike Friday’s side lift a Cup for the first time in the history of the series, leaving them sixth in the standings, having finished 13th last year.

 

“It is amazing. Credit to those boys. The 12 of them have been absolutely fantastic and there are about another 10 back in the USA that have worked their socks off all year. Their work effort has been fantastic,” Friday said.

 

“I’ve said to them, if you work hard in life then you get the rewards, and they’ve been a credit to their country and their families. I’m proud of every one of them.”

 

Captain Madison Hughes added: “It is an absolutely incredible feeling. I remember coming to this tournament as a boy watching from the stands hoping that I could play in it some day. The new management team – Mike Friday, Chris Brown and Phil Greening – have revolutionised the way in which we attack rugby, the way in which we train and our rugby lives. There is so much more to come.”

 

New Zealand, the 12-time series winners, beat South Africa 26-14 in the Plate final, while Kenya won the Bowl with a 26-12 win over Argentina.

 

Japan won their first silverware of the season, but it was too little, too late.

Japan won their first silverware of the season, but it was too little, too late, as they were relegated from the series.

In Sunday’s first final, Japan beat France 21-19 to lift the Shield, their first silverware since becoming a core side at the beginning of the series.

 

However, Japan finished bottom among the 15 core teams and will be replaced next season by Russia, who won the qualifier in Hong Kong in March.

 

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

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