27 Jan 2020

Sport: Fiji, Samoa 7s fail to fire in Hamilton

9:26 am on 27 January 2020

Fiji and Samoa have slipped further off the pace after failing to fire at the Hamilton round of the World Sevens Series.

New Zealand did the double on home soil as the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens won the men's and women's titles to extend their respective leads atop the overall World Series standings.

Fiji were attempting to win a third straight title in Hamilton but, after opening day wins against Samoa (19-12) and Australia (19-12), Gareth Baber's side were upset by Argentina 26-10 in their final round robin clash and were denied a place in the knockout rounds on points differential.

Fiji were upset by Argentina in their final pool game.

Fiji were upset by Argentina in their final pool game. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

The Fijians did at least finish on a winning note, coming from behind to defeat South Africa 12-5 in the playoff for ninth place.

Samoa lost all three of their pool matches against Fiji, Argentina (40-0) and Australia (33-19) but did manage to salvage some pride in beating Wales 21-7 to avoid the wooden spoon.

An underwhelming weekend saw Fiji fall one place to seventh in the overall standings, while Samoa slipped five places to 12th heading into the Australia Sevens in Sydney this weekend.

Samoa's Va'a Apelu Maliko scores a try against Fiji.

Samoa's Va'a Apelu Maliko scores a try against Fiji. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

The All Blacks Sevens overpowered France 27-5 in the men's final to secure their 10th title on home soil and first for four years.

Captain Tim Mikkleson said the French were always a tricky opponent.

"The French have that flair and they're a team on the rise, they're playing extremely well and we haven't gone that well the last couple of years [at home] so thought we owe it to our crowd and our families here to go well this tournament."

New Zealand celebrate winning the men's women's titles in Hamilton.

New Zealand celebrate winning the men's women's titles in Hamilton. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

New Zealand have now opened up a 15 point lead atop the men's World Series standings, while Fiji fell one place to seventh and Samoa slipped five places to 12th heading into the Australia Sevens in Sydney this weekend.

While it wasn't a weekend to remember for Pacific Island teams, Fiji-born Tavite Veredamu was named in the tournament 'Dream Team' and earned the Mark of Excellence award for his pivotal try which helped France out of their pool and into their first Cup final in New Zealand.

"First of all I want to thank the Lord for giving me strength for the tournament and for my rugby career," he said.

"It was a bit difficult on our first day of tournament against Spain and Canada so really need a win against Ireland so we can beat them and be on nine points. I thank God for giving me strength and courage for making me a try against Ireland."

Fiji captain Raijieli Daveua fends off the New Zealand defence during pool play.

Fiji captain Raijieli Daveua fends off the New Zealand defence during pool play. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

Meanwhile, the Fiji women's team remain in eighth place after four rounds of the Women's World Series.

The Fijiana began the inaugural Hamilton leg with a 26-19 win over England before losing to China 17-14, host nation New Zealand 38-21 and Russia 26-21 in the playoff for seventh place.