Gold rush: how Fiji began their charge to Olympic glory in Hong Kong
Ben Ryan’s side stand tall at the spiritual home of sevens to lay the foundation for Rio success amid the hype surrounding the likes of Sonny Bill Williams and the Honey Badger
Fiji came to the 2016 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens looking to prime themselves for Olympic glory and so they did, dismantling New Zealand in the final to set their history-making gold-medal quest in motion.
The three-day Hong Kong tournament – the same length as Rio – was an Olympic dress rehearsal for Fiji, with coach Ben Ryan saying his side were desperate to stand tall amid the enhanced pressure and intensity of the tournament.
In the end they were the last men standing, with captain Osea Kolinisau superb as Fiji ran out 21-7 winners over New Zealand after the scores were tied 7-7 at the half.
Semi Kunatani put the icing on the cake with the final try to hand his side their fourth victory in Hong Kong from the past five editions – their 16th in all (including the 1997 and 2005 World Cups).
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With Sonny Bill Williams strutting his stuff in a bid to earn a spot at the Olympics, New Zealand were again gallant, while Australia also performed well despite Rio hopeful Nick “Honey Badger” Cummins suffering an ankle injury.