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Fiji rule in Hong Kong again

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 12:15
Jone-vota630

Defending champions Fiji fought back to beat a valiant Wales 26-19 in the Hong Kong Sevens final on Sunday, taking the title for a record 14th time.

The sixth and most high-profile tournament of the nine-leg World Series saw Wales, who were appearing in their first series final, dominate the first half and go into the break 19-0 up.

But the Fijian powerhouse, who crushed fellow titans New Zealand in the semifinals, stormed back with a hat-trick of tries from Osea Kolinisau.

In the quarter finals, Wales defeated Canada 28-14 before Kenya’s Biko Adema slotted a last-second drop kick penalty to see off Portugal 15-12 in the Cup quarters.

Fiji carried on their stunning form of the first two days with a classy 29-5 victory over Australia, before New Zealand edged a thriller with Samoa 21-14. Samoa went on to win the Plate by beating Canada.

England ended a disappointing campaign with a Bowl title by beating Hong Kong 42-7, the same score they beat France by earlier to book their place in the semifinals where they defeat South Africa.

Hong Kong delighted the home support and pulled off a shock 7-5 Bowl quarterfinal over Argentina, before beating USA in the semifinals.

In the Shield, Julien Candelon scored the winning try for France as they beat Argentina.

Earlier on the last day, Russia, Zimbabwe, Tonga and Georgia all kept alive their hopes of gaining core team status for next season. Zimbabwe went on to win the final, beating Tonga 22-19 to head to London with momentum.

The quartet won their quarterfinal matches in the series pre-qualifier early on day three in Hong Kong to secure their places in the promotion/relegation play-off finale at the final round of the Series, the London Sevens on 11-12 May.

World Cup Sevens hosts Russia were impressive in beating Uruguay, Zimbabwe were made to work hard before overcoming Brazil, Tonga edged Tunisia and Georgia proved too strong for next week's Tokyo Sevens hosts, Japan.

In London the four nations will play off for three available core team places on the 2013/14 Sevens World Series with Asian champions Hong Kong and the core teams ranked 13th, 14th and 15th after Round Eight, the Glasgow Sevens.

"We've worked hard for this tournament. We realise the importance of it because it is a qualifier for London," said Russia coach, Alexander Alekseenko.

"Unfortunately we have six players in our national team who are injured so we were a bit concerned coming into the tournament. However, the new guys played really well with the older players remaining. Overall I'm really pleased.

"The preparations for the Rugby World Cup Sevens will begin for us from tomorrow. We are really looking forward to this tournament and each Sevens World Series tournament is a stepping stone for us towards this historic event for Russian rugby."

All the results from Hong Kong:

Cup Final:
Fiji 26-19 Wales

Third-place play-off:
New Zealand 36-5 Kenya

Cup semifinals:
Wales 19-0 Kenya
Fiji 33-14 New Zealand

Cup quarterfinals:
Wales 28-14 Canada
Kenya 15-12 Portugal  
Fiji 29-5 Australia
New Zealand 21-14 Samoa  

Bowl:
England 42-7 Hong Kong
Hong Kong 20-12 USA
England 26-14 South Africa

Plate:
Samoa 12-7 Canada  
Samoa 12-5 Australia
Canada 19-14 Portugal

Shield:
France 19-14 Argentina
Argentina 12-7 Scotland
France 28-0 Spain

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