Fiji ‘Lords of London Sevens’ yet again

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Fiji 'Lords of London Sevens' yet again
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 26: Aminiasi Tuimaba, Waisea Nacuqu and Paula Dranisinukula of Fiji celebrate with the trophy following their victory in the cup final match during the HSBC London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium on May 26, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Playing in their eighth finals appearance at the London leg of the World Series – the most by any team – the Fijians reigned supreme again, to become ‘Lords of the London Sevens’ for the second consecutive year.

With an 85,000 strong crowd attending the two-day tournament, it was filled with a mix of ardent Fijian fans and many more dressed for the occasion. Keeping the crowd on their toes, the current Olympic Champions notched up their 40th Gold medal victory from 74 Cup finals, over the history of the World Sevens Series.

Former captain Jerry Tuwai led the onslaught from Day One, not really giving their opponents what they had in store, but slowly and steadily they grew with confidence. When Day Two came, Ireland and United States could not to keep them at bay, as the Lords of London Sevens stormed their way into the final to entertain the Twickenham crowd with some mouthwatering, free-flowing, unorthodox rugby sevens.

Australia and France should be credited though, for another outstanding tournament outing. Australia notably beating the Blitzboks and France shocking World Cup Champions New Zealand in the quarterfinals. This only proves how evolving the game has become.

Popular side Ireland again performed in London, making the Cup quarters but failed to progress any further, after finding a Fiji difficult [if impossible] to halt.

Double celebration for Fiji too, as they booked their place to Olympics in Tokyo 2020. Joining them will be World Cup and Commonwealth Games champions New Zealand, the United States and [reaching the mark on Day Two] South Africa too.

Fiji ‘Lords of London Sevens’ yet again

Fiji scored seven tries to one, to win their fourth title in the 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series. Australia had no answer to Fiji’s offload game led by Player of the Final Meli Derenalagi.

The London Sevens DHL Impact Player of the Tournament Aminiasi Tuimaba grabbed a hat-trick in the final, with Alosio Naduva grabbing a double. Josua Vakurinabili had the final say of a one-sided Cup final which was all started by the bright talent of Filimoni Botitu. Current leader of the DHL Impact Player of the Season, the accolades are flying for many of this season’s group.

The HSBC Player of the Final, Meli Derenalagi spoke to worldrugby.org. Saying  “We had lots of work-ons from day one, so we tried to improve on day two and our main focus was to come and win.

“All the supporters from around the world uplift us and motivate us to come and give our best.”

United States settled for bronze and now trail new Sevens Series leaders Fiji by two points heading into Paris.

This fascinating two-way battle for the Top spot finish in Paris is likely to go down to the wire. Whoever finishes highest in the French leg will grab the 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series title.

Note: if both sides end on the same competition points, the team with the most tournament wins would be crowned Champion.

All Black Sevens disappointed with London Sevens outcome

New Zealand overcame the feisty Irish to take fifth place. Obviously not where the Kiwis wish to place, but failing to get past France [again] has been their Achilles heel for the second-half of this season.

If one example can be highlighted, it was Joe Webber’s brain explosion against Les Bleus 7s. His blatant interference with the ball, as France were on attack was a coach-killer. Ill-discipline and micro-skills can often be the difference between first….and fifth.

Samoa outscored Scotland, to once again lift the Challenge Trophy. The Manu will be happy, although more appearances in the Cup knockouts are ultimately where Sir Gordon Tietjens needs his men to perform.

Japan had a great end to the weekend, overcoming host England, to take 13th place. With that being said, at the bottom of the table, just four points separate Wales, Japan, and Kenya. Their ‘relegation battle’ will go down to the wire, with all three teams needing a solid result in Paris.

London Sevens – the Last Word

While all eyes will be on top of the table clash between Fiji and United States, the real battle will be at the bottom of the battle.

With your back against the wall, your real character tends to show up. This is where Kenya, Wales and Japan need to show what they are made of.

France and Ireland will be worth the watch in Paris, along with France, Australia, South Africa, Samoa – who must aim for the Cup playoffs – and of course, New Zealand. They will be looking for redemption, even after their Olympic goals have already been checked off.

The below image shows the pools drawn for Paris, although like here at the London Sevens, you can still proceed to the quarterfinals even after a loss. Not perfect, but proof of how close this competition is.

The HSBC Paris Sevens will be breathtaking, mouthwatering and captivating for all next weekend. Don’t miss the action, and join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

 

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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