Fiji beat New Zealand 35-19 to lift the Cup at the USA Sevens for the first time since 2007 at round five of the HSBC Sevens World Series. A brace of tries to Fiji's elusive Jerry Tuwai and Semi Kunatani paved the way for a convincing win for the Pacific islanders.
"It means a lot for us. We've talked about improving our defence and discipline and today it has paid off," said captain Osea Kolinisau, who missed the final through injury. "One of the strengths of the team is that we are in this together and we proved that this weekend."
Both finalists close the gap on series leaders South Africa, with just seven points now separating the top three. The Blitzboks maintain their place in first with 93 series points, with New Zealand (88) and Fiji (86) in second and third respectively as the series passes the halfway stage in Las Vegas.
The hosts USA received 15 points and move up to seventh in the series standings after finishing fourth at the Sam Boyd Stadium, while Australia's Plate final win over England gives them a three-point cushion over England in fourth as the race for Olympic qualification continues.
Elsewhere Kenya beat Argentina to win the Bowl and Portugal defeated Wales in the Shield final.
In the Cup final Fiji's Vatemo Ravouvou scooped up a loose ball in his own half before offloading to Tuwai who out-sprinted the defence to score for a 7-0 lead. Tuwai found space again soon after, this time within the attacking 22, extending the lead to 14-0 before a Savenaca Rawaca try closed out a near perfect first half for the Pacific islanders.
Both sides traded tries early in the second half, New Zealand's Jack Goodhue responding to a Semi Kunatani try before Kunatani stretched out for his second for a 35-5 lead, ensuring the win for Ben Ryan's men. Joe Webber picked up a late double for the All Black Sevens, reducing the final margin to 16 points.
In the Cup semis a Kunatani double helped Fiji to the win, denying the Blitzboks a third consecutive finals appearance in Las Vegas while New Zealand put paid to the USA's chances of their first Cup final since 2010 with exciting youngster Rieko Ioane bagging a double in the first half as the reigning series champions won 26-12 to set up a repeat of the Pool A match which Ben Ryan's side won 14-12.
AUSTRALIA BEAT ENGLAND TO EXTEND LEAD IN FOURTH PLACE
Australia beat England 21-14 in the Plate final, dominating possession early on to score three tries through skipper Ed Jenkins, Lewis Holland and Con Foley before an Alex Gray flick-pass sent Charlie Hayter across the line on the stroke of half-time to trail 21-7. England were within striking distance when Tom Mitchell broke through, racing 40 metres to score but Australia held to pick up a valuable 13 series points and retain fourth place in the race for automatic Olympic qualification, extending their margin over fifth-placed England to three points.
England booked a spot in the final against old foes Australia after scoring four tries to one, defeating France 26-5 in their Plate semi-final. Meanwhile Australia beat Canada 17-0 to book their place against Simon Amor's men, scoring three unanswered tries in the first half.
KENYA HOLD OUT FAST FINISHING LOS PUMAS IN BOWL FINAL
Kenya beat Argentina 24-21, scoring three second-half tries. In a tight first half Bush Mwale scored for the Africans before Santiago Alvarez levelled. A double from Tony Opondo and Mwale's second opened the match up for the Kenyans before Segundo Tuculet and Francisco Merello struck back late for Argentina, but it was Kenya who claimed eight series points.
"It was a good game," said Opondo. "The Argentines were really tough in attack and we needed to make up for losing to them in the pool stages in the last few rounds. This win also makes up for losing to Fiji here last year."
Earlier, Kenya advanced to the Bowl final against Argentina, who came from 19-7 down to steal a late 21-19 victory over Scotland, after beating Samoa 19-5. Leading 7-5 at the break through a try to Michael Wanjala, Kenya finished strongly with second-half tries to Lavin Asego and Billy Odhiambo providing the winning margin.
PORTUGAL TAKE SHIELD FINAL OVER WALES
Portugal beat Wales 19-12 to win the Shield final after leading 12-0 at half-time courtesy of an Aderito Esteves brace. Nuno Guedes scored early in the second half extending the lead before Wales hit back with two late tries from Jason Harries and Luke Morgan.
"We didn’t play well on the second day but it’s important for us to win a final at the end of the weekend. Even with the injuries today, we continue to play like brothers," said Portugal's Pedro Leal after the win.
Portugal survived a late fight-back in their quarter-final against Brazil, running out eventual 26-19 winners. Establishing a 12-0 lead early, Portugal found themselves trailing 19-12 with less than two minutes to play before tries to David Mateus and Guedes, his second of the match, sealed the win for the Portuguese.