Vodafone Fijian 7s brilliance clinches title win over Samoa
The Vodafone Fijian 7sreps were a class above the rest of the field yesterday at Suva’s ANZ Stadium. Their win over Pacific rivals Samoa in the Oceania 7s final last night now serves as a perfect platform in their build-up to defend their World Rugby Sevens Series title. The Samoans were no push-over as they came back fighting in the second half. It took the brilliant footwork of gold medal Olympian, Kitione Taliga, to relieve the pressure from the Samoan onslaught and seal the tiltle for Fiji. The win is a cause for celebration following the Vodafone Flying Fijians 7-40 beating from the Barbarians yesterday morning in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Also, our Telecom Fijian women’s 7s lost to a rampaging Australian outfit, also Olympic gold medallists.
Oceania 7s defending champions Australia bowed out in the semifinal losing to the Vodafone Fijian 7s team 19-7 at the ANZ Stadium in Suva yesterday.
Kitione Taliga’s try in the first half gave Fiji a 5-0 lead at halftime. Australia bounced back in the second spell with a try to Sam Croke as Josh Coward added the two points to lead Fiji 7-5. But the Fijians came back firing when Joeli Lutumailagi and Kalione Nasoko scored a try each with captain Osea Kolinisau adding four points with the conversions. Coach Andy Friend said they made a lot of mistakes and gave away a lot of possssions, especially against world champions Fiji. “There was a lot to like about our performance against Fiji, I thought our energy was very good and I thought our enthusiasm was also good,” Friend said. “But we just made too many errors. We cannot give Fiji the ball the way we did and when we got the ball we did not respect it. “They are the world champions for a reason, when they have the ball they hurt you so we didn’t deserve to win that.”
Despite not retaining their title in the Oceania 7s, Friend said a positive has come out of the tournament as each game has made it clearer to him on which players he wants to be contracted to the national team. “With every game, it becomes a little bit clearer about which boys we want,” he said. “That is the main reason we came here, which is to give these boys an opportunity to show us what they have got at this level. “They will continue to learn and develop and if they miss the contract they shouldn’t drop their heart or drop their heads but to make sure they keep challenging themselves and try to get better.” Australia had a flawless performance winning all their games and losing only one in the pool stages against Samoa.
PICTURED: The Vodafone Fijian 7s team celebrate their win last night at the ANZ Stadium in Suva after beating Samoa 28-19.
Kitione Taliga goes in for a try against Australia during the semifinal. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga