A 29-12 victory in Cape Town sparks Fijian joy
Fiji men win Sevens world Cup
An irresistible force. A power surge. The art of timing. In the final of the men’s Sevens World Cup, Fiji cranked it up, scoring five tries to New Zealand’s two, and taking back the Melrose Cup, which they last saw in Hong Kong in 2005.
They also won it in 1997 (again in Hong Kong) but there has been nothing in 17 years. There have been two Olympic Games golds since then, but no World Cups. Mind you, the side they faced in this final have had a knack – New Zealand men were chasing a third consecutive Sevens world Cup.
But here, Fiji were fired out of a cannon. Joseva Talacolo galloped down the left touchline to score in less than 30 seconds, following a laser pass from Iosefo Masi. That same man was throwing his weight around in defence and whether it was pushing or not, Kaminieli Rasaku eventually found his way past the outstretched arms of Moses Leo.
Leo had reason to roar himself soon. Kiwi footwork proved a nuisance for Fijian defenders, but it was the classic elements of their game, with slick, simple hands, that got the New Zealanders over the line for their first score as it was threaded through a few pairs on the way to Leo for the try.
But the frenzy to even things up allowed Fiji the opportunity to do what they do best and in a blur Elia Canakaivata and Filipe Sauturaga had scores and a kiss was blown on celebration. The long kiss goodnight? It was 24-5 at the half.
The hits kept coming as New Zealand chased and after Leo giving it a bloody good go towards the line, Akuila Rokolisoa managed to squirm over as white-shirted defenders tried to climb him. Talacolo was yellow carded, and soon enough Sevuloni Mocenacagi got one himself for cynical play.
But the sliver of hope had a slice taken off as Rokolisoa was sin-binned himself, and with the New Zealanders working their way towards their own line as they hunted for a way out, Pilipo Bukayaro seized the initiative for a try to kill the game off.
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