Fiji’s 28-22 victory over Australia in the final of the HSBC Singapore Sevens saw the Pacific Islanders secure their third consecutive title on this year’s World Series.
The result sees Fiji take the lead in the World Series standings after they knocked out South Africa in the Cup semi-final. Fiji are now four points ahead of the Blitzboks, who finished in fourth place, with two tournaments remaining.
Australia's runners-up position moves them up into fourth position overall and New Zealand remain in third.
The drama-filled final was an exhilarating display of end-to-end action. Going into the last minute of the game Australia’s John Porch showed his athletic finishing skills to dot down in the corner and with the conversion brought Australia ahead, for the first time in the game, by one point.
Australia still had time for the restart and a knock-on gave Fiji possession back. Gareth Baber's team kept their cool and a 90-metre tournament-winning try, finished by Alosio Sovita Naduva, sealed an incredible 28-22 victory.
Captain Jerry Tuwai said “I’m speechless. Australia are a very good side and took us to the wire. We gave everything for this final.
"Winning this tournament will boost our morale going to London and Paris.
Tuwai added: "To all the people in the stadium, thank you very much for the support and back home thank you very much for your prayers, support and belief in this young team.”
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Earlier in the day England beat South Africa 26-24 to secure the bronze medal while New Zealand secured fifth with a 36-17 victory over Samoa. The Challenge Trophy winners were the USA after day two results against Argentina, Scotland and Canada in the final.
The next stop on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is London 2-3 June. With only 37 points between the top four teams, this year’s series is proving to be the most competitive yet.
Fiji 12-10 South Africa
Fiji and South Africa were embroiled in a classic semi-final and one that both knew would have ramifications when it came to the current World Series standings.
South Africa started strongly with two early tries. They capitalised on a Fijian error from the restart and Werner Kok powered over for their maiden score of the game with a minute gone. Siviwe Soyizwapi added their second four minutes later before a yellow card to Cecil Afrika gave Fiji the space to strike before the break. Nacuq’s offload to Naduva ultimately secured the try and that meant that Fiji trailed 5-10 at the break.
Baber’s side put the pressure on in the second seven with the Blitzboks showing outstanding defence to hold firm. However the power of Eroni Sau eventually proved to be too much.
With 22 seconds left on the clock Amenoni Nasilasila was handed a yellow card and South Africa look to build. This time, Fiji showed the intensity of their defence, and once they had the ball back went for one more try. In the end they decided that enough was enough and kicked the ball dead to book their Cup final spot.
Australia 15-7 England
In Cup semi-finals teams look to their leaders to step up and that’s what happened early on between Australia and England.
Australia captain Jesse Parahi delivered the first points of the encounter after great work on the inside from Porch. England’s response arrived through their captain Tom Mitchell and his solo-score helped to poise the semi-final at 7-7 after seven minutes.
Australia held firm with possession in the second half and pressed hard. They lost Parahi to injury with four minutes to go however found the decisive score through his replacement Dylan Pietsch.
After scoring all of England's first-half points Mitchell saw yellow late on and Australia decided to take the penalty. Porch stepped up and secured the extras before they managed the final moments to ensure that Walsh’s first tournament in charge finished with a Cup final outing.