Fiji moved to the top of the HSBC Sevens World Series standings after a 24-17 victory over defending champions, Glasgow Sevens, in an enthralling final at Scotstoun Stadium, New Zealand.
Apisai Domolailai scored twice in the victory, their fourth of the season, with the win moving Fiji ahead of South Africa and New Zealand in the race for the 16th World Series title, with one round remaining in London.
Ryan’s side headed into round nine in London on 147 points, with South Africa, who beat Scotland 12-10 in the Plate final, second on 142 and New Zealand on 139. England (117) came third after beating the USA 24-19, increasing their lead over Australia (101) in the battle for the fourth and final Olympic qualification spot.
“This is the most amount of wins – four – that we’ve done in one season and we have put ourselves in a great position to win our first World Series in 10 years,” said head coach Ben Ryan. “We have a fit team and we want to win back-to-backs now.”
Isake Katonibau and two tries from Semi Kunatani were enough for Fiji earlier as they beat a spirited USA side, having earlier proved too strong for then leaders South Africa 15-0. Kunatani and Savenaca Rawaca scored tries in that win, a result which meant the Blitzboks failed to make the semi-final for the first time all season.
Rieko Ioane scored the only try in New Zealand’s 5-0 win over England, the lowest scoring semi-final for 13 years in wet conditions in Glasgow.
Earlier, Perry Baker was the star for the USA, as he ran the entire length of the pitch to help Mike Friday’s side come from 7-0 down to record a 14-7 win. The result meant New Zealand qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio, joining South Africa and Fiji, who achieved the same on day one.