Fiji wins Adelaide sevens tournament - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fiji wins Adelaide sevens tournament

By Daniel Brettig 08/04/2007 08:46:45 PM Comments (0)

Master escape artists Fiji came from behind for the fourth time in six games to put their stamp on the IRB Sevens World Series race with a 21-7 victory over a fighting Samoa in the Adelaide cup final.

Having conceded the first try of the match, the Fijians ran in the next three either side of halftime to complete a memorable tournament success in which they had seemed likely to be knocked out on more than one occasion.

Expertly led by Semisi Serevi with speedy support from player of the tournament William Ryder, the Fijians managed to wriggle free time and again, extending their lead over New Zealand and the Samoans at the top of the series table.

To triumph on Easter Sunday was doubly satisfying for a team of committed Christians.

"We wanted to win for the kids back at home on Palm Sunday (last week), we couldn't make it, we thank the Lord for what he's given us," Serevi said.

"It was great to see the people of Fiji in Australia, we didn't know, we thought there were only 50 families in Adelaide, but it looks like 5,000 were here.

"I think (the new event) is great, I congratulate the ARU, the people of Adelaide, they made this thing exciting. This is just the first year ... this tournament will grow."

Australia, meanwhile, ended their weekend in fine style by being named "king of the Bs", knocking over South Africa 31-0 to claim the consolation plate final and entertain a generous crowd of 13,947 that brought the tournament aggregate to 25,222.

It was an encouraging start to the event's five-year run at Adelaide Oval, with the Fijian victory speaking volumes for the excitable nature of the sevens format.

Their progress to the semis arrived via a thrilling 22-17 golden point extra time victory over South Africa - their second scrape of the competition after a late, come from behind win over Tonga in the pool phase.

The Springboks led by a converted try with time exhausted, but Waisale Serevi broke brilliantly through to score under the posts and allow an easy conversion.

In the extra period, the Fijians won it through a classic breakaway try by Ryder.

He was to repeat the effort against New Zealand, breaking the 17-17 deadlock with time running out in a tightly contested semi, affording his team a hat-trick of highly unlikely wins.

Samoa, too, won plenty of fans, despite vanquishing Australia from the main draw for the second successive event; they also did so on the way to winning in Hong Kong last week.

The Samoans followed a 22-17 win over Australia - including a Mikaele Pesamino hat-trick - by outclassing a Kenyan side who had provided an upset in the first of the quarter-finals by running all over England for a 17-12 victory and their first-ever semis appearance.

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