25 Mar 2013

Sport: Fiji defend Hong Kong Sevens title

11:26 am on 25 March 2013

Fiji has won the Hong Kong Sevens title, beating Wales 26-19 in the final.

Wales led 19-nil at half time, but were then kept scoreless by the defending champions.

Osea Kolinisau came on as a second half substitute and changed the game with two quick tries, before completing his hat-trick to seal a remarkable win.

He says despite a poor start, the team remained composed at halftime.

"We just said that we need not to lose hope and we just need to keep the faith and keep on working because ten minutes is a lot of time in sevens. It's really a good feeling to go back to back and especially to be the first team in this season to win two cup titles. It's really important because you see there is four different winners from the first four legs so we hope to continue this in Japan."

The country's greatest ever seven-a-side player, Waisale Serevi, was in Hong Kong to be inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.

He says Hong Kong is a special tournament for Fiji.

To win the Hong Kong Sevens it's like winning the World Cup - it's the pinnacle of the IRB Sevens Series. To win this, despite Fiji not playing well in the last couple of tournaments, is a bonus, especially before the World Cup.

In other results, Samoa beat Canada in the Plate final, England beat hosts Hong Kong in the Bowl final and France edged Argentina to lift the Shield.

New Zealand finished third, but still managed to extend their overall series lead to 25 points from Fiji, with another 4 points back to Samoa.

Meanwhile Tonga have advanced to the final qualifying round for a core-team spot on next year's World Series after finishing runners-up in the Hong Kong qualifier.

The Kingdom topped their Pool, before edging Tunisia 12-5 in the quarter finals to secure one of four places in the London qualifier, from which the top three teams will earn a permanent spot on next year's circuit.

Tonga also beat Georgia in the semi finals but were edged 22-19 in the final by Zimbabwe, with Russia the other team to advance.