Fiji win in Hong Kong, but All Blacks Sevens retain series lead
irbsevens.com and James Mortimer 25 Mar 2013 Getty Images
Osea Kolinisau came on as a second half substitute and turned the course of the game with two quickfire tries. He added a third late on to seal a comeback that had looked highly unlikely after a first half in which Wales had made all the running and Fiji a raft of unforced errors.
Cory Allen was Wales' standout player in the first half, using a combination of bulk, pace and sleight of hand more commonly associated with the Fijians as he scored two tries and had a large hand in another.
But after the break Fiji, inspired by Kolinisau, were a completely different proposition as they forced Wales into errors and took advantage with some lethal finishing.
All Blacks Sevens claim third and valuable series points
Rocky Khan and Sherwin Stowers both scored two tries as New Zealand outclassed a tired Kenya outfit 36-5 in the third place playoff. In doing so, New Zealand gained 17 valuable HSBC Sevens World Series points to remain well clear at the top of the standings on 113 points. Fiji are second, 25 points behind New Zealand, with Samoa, Plate winners in Hong Kong, a further four points back.
Portugal, USA and Spain currently occupy positions 12-15 in the season's standings. The teams in those positions come the London Sevens will battle it out with Hong Kong, Russia, Georgia, Tonga and Zimbabwe for three core team spots in next season's HSBC Sevens World Series.
Earlier on the last day, Fiji had overcome Australia in the Cup quarter final 29-5 before coming from 14-0 behind to beat Series leaders New Zealand 33-14 in the Cup semi. Wales defeated Canada 28-14 in their Cup quarter, before securing a place in their first-ever Cup final with a 19-0 defeat of Kenya.
England ended a disappointing campaign with a Bowl title by beating Hong Kong 42-7, the same score they beat France by earlier to book their place in the semis where they defeat South Africa.
Hong Kong delighted the home support and pulled off a shock 7-5 Bowl quarter final over Argentina, before beating USA in the semis.
In the Shield, Julien Candelon scored the winning try for France as they beat Argentina.
Earlier on the last day, Russia, Zimbabwe, Tonga and Georgia all kept alive their hopes of gaining core team status for next season. Zimbabwe went on to win the final, beating Tonga 22-19 to head to London with momentum.
The quartet won their quarter-final matches in the Series pre-qualifier early on day three in Hong Kong to secure their places in the promotion / relegation play-off finale at the final round of the Series, the Marriott London Sevens on 11-12 May.
Rugby World Cup Sevens hosts Russia were impressive in beating Uruguay, Zimbabwe were made to work hard before overcoming Brazil, Tonga edged Tunisia and Georgia proved too strong for next week's Tokyo Sevens hosts, Japan.
In London the four nations will play off for three available core team places on the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series with Asian champions Hong Kong and the core teams ranked 13th, 14th and 15th after round 8, the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens.
"We've worked hard for this tournament. We realise the importance of it because it is a qualifier for London," said Russia coach, Alexander Alekseenko.
"Unfortunately we have six players in our national team who are injured so we were a bit concerned coming into the tournament. However, the new guys played really well with the older players remaining. Overall I'm really pleased.
"The preparations for the Rugby World Cup Sevens will begin for us from tomorrow. We are really looking forward to this tournament and each Sevens World Series tournament is a stepping stone for us towards this historic event for Russian rugby."
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