England stun Fiji to set up title decider against New Zealand
England pulled off the shock of the tournament by beating the defending Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens champions Fiji, 17-7, in the Cup semi-finals.
The English will now face New Zealand in the Hong Kong title decider after the All Blacks Sevens dispatched Australia 19-7 in their semi-final clash. Two tries from Gillies Kaka helped see the New Zealanders through.
It was a bitter pill for Fiji coach Ben Ryan to take. The Englishman had been in charge of the England sevens squad for more than six years, but took over as Fiji boss last September.
“I don’t know many of the England players in the current squad. Best of luck to them in the final, but I’m now just concentrating on the third-place play-off game with Fiji,” Ryan said.
England controlled the game throughout against a strangely lethargic Fiji outfit. They were 14-0 ahead at half-time, following tries from Tom Powell and Marcus Watson, both of which were converted by captain Tom Mitchell.
Fiji staged a mini revival thanks to a second-half try from Waisea Nacuqu, duly converted by captain Osea Kolinisau, but Mitchell wisely elected to kick a late penalty to his side some insurance points.
Ryan tried to put a positive spin on what must have been a disappointing result for him personally.
“Fair play to England, they’re a full-time professional side. Their set-piece was good against us. They moved us around,” Ryan said.
“I thought we were just a bit quiet on the field. It’s something I’ve been trying to work on over the past two or three weeks – to communicate more. It can get you out of a lot of problems.
“Still, over the past few weeks we’ve done terrifically well. This is the first match we’ve lost in 14 or 15 games. We’ll be looking to finish on a high in the third-place play-off game.”