CAPE TOWN: Two tries in the first two minutes led Olympic champions Fiji to a 29-12 victory over New Zealand in the Rugby Sevens World Cup final in Cape Town on Sunday (September 11).
Joseva Talakolo and Kaminieli Rasaku scored early to push back the previous two title-winning New Zealanders before Elia Kanakaivata, Filipe Soturaga and Pilipo Bukayaro added new attempts in the one-sided decider.
This is the Fijians’ third World Cup victory, but the first since 2005 when they made up for the disappointment of losing the Commonwealth Games final to South Africa in July.
“It was an amazing performance, the guys were fantastic all weekend,” Fiji coach Ben Gollings told reporters.
“Everyone knows us from attacking play, but it’s also important for us to stop attempts against us. Yesterday and today there were amazing defensive performances, they (the players) crashed into the ground.”
“We knew we let ourselves down in the Commonwealth Games final and we set our sights on it.”
Australia won the women’s competition for the first time since 2009 with a dramatic 24-22 victory over New Zealand, securing a unique Commonwealth Games, World Series and World Cup hat-trick in one year.
New Zealand were two points behind with three minutes left, but attempts by Shirai Kaka and Alyona Saili gave them a chance to equalize.
Tenika Willison then missed what she believed was a relatively easy conversion of the second of those points and the opportunity to take the game to extra time was lost.
“Today we talked about the 2009 team and we’re doing it for them and for everyone at home,” said Australian Charlotte Caslick. “What we have achieved this year is simply amazing.”