Voda­fone Fi­jian 7s bril­liance clinches ti­tle win over Samoa

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - Naisa Koroi

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.

Photo: Jone Lu­ven­i­toga

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

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