Twenty-four teams competed at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2005 but by the time the tournament had reached its 81st game, it was down to the two best teams in the world, Fiji and New Zealand, to decide the destiny of the Melrose Cup.
Hong Kong, the spiritual home of international sevens for many a year, was the perfect venue for the clash of the titans who’d progressed to the showpiece match unbeaten.
A final to remember!— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 14, 2020
We're taking you back to 2005 for the Rugby World Cup Sevens final between New Zealand and Fiji. 🇳🇿🇫🇯
⏰ 20:00 BST
📺 World Rugby Sevens Facebook / World Rugby YouTube pic.twitter.com/4ZvuSt0R7G
Fiji had not had it easy, though, and after a narrow victory over Argentina in the last eight, they required a sudden-death extra-time try from Waisale Serevi – who else – to make the final and deny England the chance to be world champions in both formats of the game at the same time.
Serevi, the ‘King of Sevens’, turned on the style again in the showpiece occasion, his partnership with Apolosi Satala proving to be defending champions New Zealand’s undoing as Fiji became the first team to lift the coveted silverware twice.
Some of Serevi’s skills – and the build-up play to his first-half try – have to be seen to be believed, and the good news for rugby fans is that Fiji’s stunning 29-19 win will be live-streamed in all its glory on Wednesday at 20:00 BST via the official World Rugby Sevens Facebook page and World Rugby’s official YouTube channel.
Don't miss the opportunity to relive how Fiji reclaimed the Cup they’d last won in 1997, again with World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Serevi at the helm, and ensured the maestro's vision became a reality.
“Hong Kong is my home away from home, it’s where I started rugby and on the plane to Hong Kong I saw a vision: my little boy holding the Melrose Cup. And I had told them to stay at home and watch on TV, but then I rang and said ‘you have to come – I saw something on the plane, Junior holding the World Cup. It won’t happen if you don’t come’. So they came,” Serevi later explained.
“In the semi-finals we played England with [Ben] Gollings and it went to sudden death and I managed to score the winner in the corner to get us to the final, against New Zealand.
“Before we went out I was talking to the boys in the tunnel – a lot of us senior players – and said that this was a great opportunity for us to do something for Fiji, that this was maybe the last time that we would be playing together and that we didn’t want to let it slip away. I said, ‘Whatever you’ve got in the tank, give it all. Just give it all.
“We started off well and then we kept applying pressure, and we won the final. A really good final because the boys knew it was our last match together. When we won I jumped on the fence, picked up Junior and he lifted up the Melrose Cup.
“The World Cup is special to me, and to win two in Hong Kong was a bonus.”