Fiji beat the defending HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions South Africa in a thrilling Cup final in Hamilton to secure their first tournament title of the 2018 season.
It marked their first Cup title since Hong Kong last April and Fiji were at their free-flowing best to secure the HSBC New Zealand Sevens title in front of an exhilarated crowd at the Waikato Stadium.
In the final Fiji had to come back from 17-5 down at half-time. Three of their four tries were scored by the HSBC Player of the Final Alasio Sovita Naduva with Eroni Sau delivering the fourth.
“The team’s character, belief and their love of their country came through and we knew we had the ability to score from anywhere. We had to believe in that and we got momentum in the tackle and in the contact areas.”
Australia claimed the bronze medal after beating hosts New Zealand 8-7 in dramatic fashion, captain James Stannard’s penalty after the final siren proving the match-winner.
The Challenge Trophy winners were the USA after day two victories over Spain, Papua New Guinea and Argentina (31-12) in the final.
After four rounds Fiji move up to third in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 standings with South Africa extending their lead over second-placed New Zealand to eight points, despite their loss in the final. The teams will reconvene in Las Vegas on 2-4 March.