Singapore Sevens: Cup success sends Fiji to the top
DAY TWO WRAP: Olympic champions Fiji stormed to victory in a dramatic final at the Singapore Sevens on Sunday, narrowly edging out a captainless Australia 28-22 to go top of the circuit table.
With the clock ticking in the second half, it appeared Australia - leading by one point - had the title in the bag, but they scuppered in the very last minute by the spirited Fijians.
The tightly-fought match was won in the final play of extra time, with Alasio Naduvawho sprinting 95 metres across the field to score the final try.
Change at the top! After 8 legs on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, here's how the table looks. @fijirugby are on top for the first time this year with just 4 points separating them and the 2017 series holders, @Blitzboks #HSBC7s #Singapore7s pic.twitter.com/2ijkTULeCT— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 29, 2018
"I'm speechless. Australia are a very good side and took us to the wire. We gave everything for this final," Fiji captain Jerry Tuwai said in a post-match interview.
"Thank you very much [everyone back home] for all your prayers support and belief in this young team."
The Fijians may lack the high-end training facilities of their wealthier opponents, but the world-beaters are set apart by fierce team spirit and guided by their deep faith.
Fiji had arrived in Singapore looking for a third consecutive Sevens victory after winning the Vancouver and Hong Kong legs of the challenge. This is their fourth victory on the circuit.
After dispatching New Zealand in a blistering quarterfinal - a repeat of this year's Commonwealth Games final - the Fijians narrowly edged out South Africa 12-10 at the semifinals.
Sunday's win has also helped them displace the BlitzBoks at top spot.
Australian captain Jesse Parahi sat out the final after he picked up an injury during the semifinal match against England earlier in the day and had to be stretchered off the field.
Second seed South Africa were dispatched by England in the bronze medal match 24-26, which saw a last-minute try by Michael Ellery.
Earlier in the day, 2017 champions Canada faced the US team in a repeat of last year's final, but were demolished this time by the Americans who were in top form.
Often referred to as the "surprise Sevens", the Singapore leg of the tournament has seen three different winners in as many editions.
Usually held a week after the marquee Hong Kong Sevens, the Singapore stop has often suffered from lacklustre attendance with fans preferring Hong Kong's party atmosphere.
Day Two results:
Fiji 28-22 Australia
South Africa 24-26 England
Fifth Place play-off:
New Zealand 36-17 Samoa
Challenge Trophy Final:
Canada 12-26 USA
Thirteenth Place play-off:
Japan 31-24 Argentina
Australia 15-7 England
Fiji 12-10 South Africa
Fifth Place semifinals:
Spain 7-24 Samoa
New Zeeland 17-7 Kenya
Challenge Trophy semifinals:
Scotland 12-33 USA
Wales 10-12 Canada
Thirteenth place semifinals:
Russia 7-12 Argentina
Japan 29-14 France
England 12-5 Samoa
Australia 7-5 Spain
South Africa 24-12 Kenya
Fiji 24-19 New Zealand
Challenge Trophy quarterfinals:
USA 36-12 Argentina
Scotland 19-14 Russia
Canada 26-7 France
Japan 19-28 Wales
Source: AFP & @WorldRugby