Fiji Retain London Sevens Title, Regain Series Lead


Fiji retained the London Sevens title to regain the series lead with a thumping win over Australia.

I should first put right an omission of a recap of the Women’s Canada Sevens in Langford, BC. Normal service resumed as New Zealand took home the Cup with a 21-17 win over Australia. 

The USA took third in the competition with a 26-5 decision over France. Canada would finish fifth with a 31-7 win over England after falling to the USA in the Cup Quaterfinals.

The Black Ferns just need to finish 7th or better in the final Sevens stop in Biarritz on June 15-16 to retain their series title. The USA is in second and all but sealed a place in Tokyo Olympics in 2020 on the women’s side. Canada just needs a finish of 10th or better in Biarritz to punch their ticket while Australia needs a 7th or better to qualify. 

At the other end, China will lose core status unless they finish at least three positions above Fiji in Biarritz. 

Canada Sevens Dream Team:

Karen Paquin (CAN)

Ruby Tui (NZL)

Charlotte Caslick (AUS)

Emma Tonegato (AUS)

Kristi Kirshe (USA)

Kelly Brazier (NZL)

Ellia Green (AUS)

Player of the Final:  Tyla Nathan-Wong

Back on the men’s side, Fiji retained their crown at the London Sevens at Twickenham with a 43-7 thumping of Australia, who were in their first Cup Final since last season in Singapore. The win also gave them the series lead by two points ahead of bronze winners USA with just one stop remaining in Paris next weekend. New Zealand is in third, 21 points out of first; and South Africa are in fourth on 131 points. 

The top three all sealed their places in Tokyo on Saturday with Fiji and USA swept their groups while New Zealand went 2-1 in their pool. South Africa joined them on Sunday after England finished a very disappointing London Sevens by finishing 14th on the weekend which culminated in losing the 13th place playoff to Japan. 

Fiji got by the USA in the Cup semis, 17-12, while France and Australia were shock semifinalists by knocking off New Zealand and South Africa, respectively in the quarters. Canada and Ireland rounded out the quarterfinalists in the Cup. 

New Zealand would finish fifth while Samoa won the Challenge Trophy. 

At the bottom of the standings, it’s a three-team race to avoid relegation as Wales are on 30 points in 13th with Kenya three points back, and Japan two points behind Kenya. Japan simply needs to finish three points ahead of Kenya to maintain core status for next season. 

It all ends next weekend in Paris where a champion of the 2018-19 circuit will be crowned and one team will lose core status for next season.

Both Fiji and the USA can claim the title if either win the Paris Sevens. Fiji have the advantage in terms of the first tiebreaker which is point difference should the teams finish level on points after next weekend. So failing victory in the Cup Final, the USA would need to finish at least two positions ahead of Fiji to claim their first-ever title. Fiji are going for their fourth all-time and first since 2016. 

London Sevens Dream Team:

Stephen Tomasin (USA)

Pierre Gilles Lakafia (FRA)

Meli Derenalagi (FIJ)

Maurice Longbottom (AUS)

Jerry Tuwai (FIJ)

Andrew Knewstubb (NZL)

Henry Hutchinson (AUS)

Player of the Final:  Meli Derenalagi (FIJ)

Paris Sevens Pools:

POOL A:  Fiji, Ireland, Argentina, England

POOL B:  Australia, South Africa, Wales, Kenya

POOL C:  USA, Canada, Samoa, Spain

POOL D:  France, New Zealand, Scotland, Japan


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