Digicel Fiji storm to Gold Coast Sevens title
27 November, 2011
|Outstanding Digicel Fiji captain Setefano Cakau. Photo courtesy of irb.com. |
Digicel Fiji's Sevens stars responded to the hopes and dreams of a nation by beating reigning HSBC Sevens World Series champions New Zealand in the final of the Gold Coast Sevens 26-12 to take an early lead in the new season.
The Fijians travel to Dubai next weekend for round two of the Series with 22 points, three clear of New Zealand and five ahead of third-placed South Africa.
After emotional anthems, Fiji's inspirational 33-year-old captain Setefano Cakau set the tone for a superb final when he threw a dummy and raced 50 metres to put his side into a 7-0 lead.
Cakau left the field injured before half time, and not before Tomasi Cama had cut the deficit to two points and then put New Zealand 12-7 ahead when he set up an attacking move and then latched onto Tim Mikkelson's raking run to score his second before half time.
After the break the Fijians lost a further key player in Osea Kolinisau but they levelled when Joeli Lutumailagi raced clear to score, and a minute later they turned over the ball in New Zealand's 22 and found Emosi Vucago in space to lead 19-12.
Watisoni Votu crossed to cap a thrilling attacking build-up and the Fijians led 26-12, a lead they held onto until the final whistle sparked mass celebration.
Earlier New Zealand had beaten hosts Australia 26-7 with Cama scoring twice and Fiji had beaten South Africa 24-7 with tries from Jimilai Naikadawa, Osea Kolinisau, Setefano Cakau and Emosi Vucago.
South Africa did recover, though, to beat Australia in the new play-off for third place 17-5 with tries from Chris Dry, Johannes Prinsloo and Paul Delport. FULL RESULTS
WORLD SERIES STANDINGS POST MATCH REACTION Article courtesy of irb.com.