Fiji’s 31-12 victory saw them finish the HSBC Canada Sevens unbeaten and move to second place, overtaking New Zealand, in the 2018 series standings.
Today’s Cup win is Fiji first in Vancouver and their 33rd win in 66 Cup finals.
The thrilling final was the second meeting between the two sides this weekend as both Fiji and Kenya went head to head in Pool C on day one. Fiji took the spoils in that match with a closely contested 24-21 score line.
The final on day two followed Fiji’s victories over Argentina (43-7) in the quarter-final and South Africa (15-12) in the semi-final. It was Kenya who were first on the scoring board with a try from Willy Ambaka, but Fiji responded through Josua Vakurunabili and by half time both sides had added another to draw even 12-12 at the break. Fiji dominated the second half with three further tries, Sevuloni Mocenacagi adding to his first half score to secure a brace and the HSBC Player of the Final title.
After the full-time whistle Head Coach Gareth Baber was pleased with their final performance and the two days as a whole, “There’s a real sense of pride more than anything today. We handled ourselves well across the weekend to get to a final with Kenya, who we’d had a tough battle with yesterday. It was very close at the break, we hadn’t really played much at half time but the team responded in the second half and produced the rugby that we now Fijians can and it was great to watch.”
“You’re always looking for some consistency in form and you get confidence from it and when you have confidence you play better again. We learned from last weekend, losing to USA but we knew we had to come here and get something out of it to keep pressure on the top of the table and that’s what we’ve done - mission accomplished as far as Vancouver is concerned and we go back to Fiji now to prepare for Hong Kong.”
South Africa claimed the bronze medal after beating USA 29-7, the series leaders running in five tries to one in front of a packed BC Place.
The Challenge Trophy winners were Scotland after day two victories over Canada (19-0), Wales 26-15) and Spain (25-5) in the final. Samoa secured the 13th place win over Canada 21-15 and England beat Australia for 5th place 31-4.
Afters six rounds, South Africa retain their top spot in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 standings but Fiji, now in second place, are only eight points behind them with New Zealand in third. The teams will reconvene in Hong Kong 6-8 April.
Your series standings after 6th rounds of the #HSBC7s. Only 8 points separates @Blitzboks from second place @fijirugby. While @nz7s sit third ahead of @Aussie7s who are in 4th spot pic.twitter.com/GWnVKVQjFo— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) March 12, 2018
HSBC CANADA SEVENS CUP RECAP:
The opening of the Cup quarter-finals was truly a game of two halves as Australia opened with a 19 points to nil display over South Africa in the first half and the Bltzbok’s responded with four tries and 24 points to win the game in the second. Fiji maintained their unbeaten form in Vancouver and put 43 points on Vegas runners-up Argentina who could only respond with a try at the close of the second half. USA found their form against New Zealand and ended the All Black Sevens winning streak in Vancouver sealing a 17-0 final score line with tries from Danny Barrett, Carlin Isles and Kevon Williams. Despite topping Pool B on day one, England couldn’t maintain winning form as a persistent Kenya moved through to the semi-finals with a 12-0 victory over Simon Amor’s men.
Quarter-final results: Australia 19-24 South Africa, Fiji 43-7 Argentina, New Zealand 0-17 USA and England 0-12 Kenya
First place played second place in the opening semi-final as 2018 series leaders South Africa faced Fiji, and the crowds were not disappointed as the game opened with two contrasting tries. First, South Africa's snipe off the breakdown allowed Philip Snyman to power over from a metre out. The second saw Fiji’s Josua Vakurunabili fly down the left and turn on the afterburners. Dylan Sage wowing the crowd with his last effort to finish the first half 12-5 to the Blitzbok. The second half saw the two teams hold each other to task but it was Fiji who eventually scored through Kalione Nasoko. He was followed by Amenoni Nasilasila and Fiji, having scored the only points of the half, secured the win and a place in the HSBC Canada Sevens final.
Kenya found their form in Vancouver, starting strong on day one and continuing well on day two with a win over England in the quarters and USA in the semi-finals. USA showed their flare in the first half with two tries from Perry Baker within 60 seconds of each other, however Kenya responded with Nelson Oyoo also scoring a brace before the break. Carlin Isles extended his sides lead in the second half but Kenya dug deep and Willy Ambaka and Oscar Ouma secured a well-earned victory and a place in the final with Fiji.
Semi-final results: South Africa 12 – 15 Fiji, United States 19 – 24 Kenya