England were forced to settle for 4th place after losing to Fiji in the semi-finals of this year’s Hong Kong Sevens, a missed tackle by Tom Mitchell letting in Metuisela Talebula for what proved to be the decisive try just after half time.
Mat Turner responded for England with a superb 60 metre effort, and with a scrum give metres out from the Fiji line looked to be in with a real chance of taking the game to sudden death. But Fiji were too powerful at the scrum and cleared before booting the ball in touch from the a penalty up the field. They contested third place against South Africa but the Fiji semi-final looked to have taken any remaining energy they had left, going down 28-0.
Speaking afterwards, Turner aexpressed his disappointment at missing out on yet another title in Hong Kong, where the support for England has been outstanding all weekend:
“You really feel as though you’ve let the crowd down. Against South Africa in the final match we just gave away far too much possession, about 12 times I think, which is just unacceptable. Then against Fiji we felt we had a great chance and fell away when it mattered. It’s tough, but only increases our hunger to win this here next year.”
Wales were also left disappointed after they were knocked out of the Plate competition by Samoa, comprehensively beaten 36-7. Despite showing some great touches throughout this championship, it’s been a tough three days for Wales, being beaten by New Zealand twice as well as South Africa on day one.
Scotland’s poor form in the Six Nations carried over the Hong Kong this weekend, leaking 89 points in their four matches and looking heavily outclassed against the likes of Fiji and Australia. There was however a narrow victory over France to draw some hope before the next tournament in Japan.
There was success though for Canada, who won the Qualifying competition and in doing so claiming their spot on next year’s World Series, along with Spain and Portugal.
Kenya won a thrilling Bowl Final against the USA, trailing 12-0 with little time left on the clock before Willy Ambaka Ndayara snatched the winner off the bench, much to the delight of the crowd. There was also success for Samoa against Argentina in the Plate final.
But the best truly was saved for last in the final, as Fiji were crowned champions after a pulsating final against New Zealand. It was a final worthy of what proved to be an incredible weekend, Waisea Nayacalevu getting the all-important scores for the Islanders to seal the win. It means Fiji close the gap to just two points in the World Series on 109 behind New Zealand. England remain 4th, with Wales 7th and Scotland 11th.
by Ben Coles