HSBC Canada 7s: Fiji wins maiden Vancouver title

HSBC Canada 7s: Fiji wins maiden Vancouver title

Fiji has ended the ‘new tournament, new winner’ streak of the HSBC Sevens Series at BC Place, in Vancouver. In front of a rapturous crowd, which was full of excitement as the men from the South Sea Isle ran rampant at the HSBC Canada 7s.

Reaching a final; after several less than expected lower placings, they were glad to be challenging again for the Cup. And suitably, they defeated a high-performing Kenya, 31-12 to bounce back, and decrease the championship lead that South Africa had built-up.

Five tournaments in, with five different tournament winners leading into the HSBC Canada 7s was a unique situation. But that streak came to an end, as the Olympic champions won….and won well in Vancouver.

The rebound was at the expense of some, as some failed to make it past the quarterfinals – New Zealand, who were humbled by Team USA – and the Blitzboks who were stopped in their tracks, by the ever popular Fijians. The flags were flying for the boys in Vancouver, as much as the island nation came to a standstill for the semifinal and Cup final wins.

Samoa claimed 13th spot, with Scotland taking the Champions Trophy. England settled for a proud fifth place, as the New Zealanders and Australians fizzled late in the tournament, with South Africa claiming the bronze.

A successful weekend for most, as the HSBC Canada 7s was a sellout on both days. And in a country synonymous with Ice-Hockey, that is a win. The sevens game continues to grow rapidly, so is the competition on the field.

HSBC Canada 7s: The LOWDOWN

Two consecutive weekends, and two completely different finalists, just shows the equitable standings currently. Last week, it was the United States and Argentina. This week it was the flamboyant Fijians and fiery Kenyans.

Fiji 31 Kenya 12

Willy Ambaka benefited from some good work at the breakdown from Nelson Oyoo to score the opening try. It was his 99th series try. Fiji were quick to level the scores, until Samuel Oilech extends Kenya’s lead.

Only held shortly, with Sevuloni Mocenacagi plucking the ball out of the sky magnificently from the restart, to level the scores again. 12-12 at the break, the crowd knew that both sides had come to compete at 100%.

As ‘Player of the Final’ Mocenacagi scored his second, Fiji turned the tables to score 19 unanswered points, and have the crowd dancing in the aisles [Canada 7s entertainment was non-stop this weekend].

Kenya battled hard but the boys from the South Seas were on song this time. Fiji is the only team to win two tournaments this season, and will take a lot of confidence out of Vancouver. South Africa has appeared in three finals winning one, while Fiji takes two from two attempts.

Earlier in the semifinals, Fiji overcame an early South African lead, to win a close battle 15-12. On the other hand, Kenya had piped high flyers the United States right at the death in their semi, 24-19. It showed how highly this Kenya group can achieve, and both these teams now look toward Hong Kong, followed by the Commonwealth Games.

Other HSBC Canada 7s results:

South Africa; with mostly their new players managed to humble the United States 29-7, to win the bronze medal. Not the colour they wanted, but it’s not often you are beaten in pool play and a semifinal, but still leave standing on top of the table.

The English were too good for the Aussies who faded on Day Two, after a ‘come from behind win’ in their quarterfinal. Fifth place is still valuable points, yet each side must still be aiming for ‘Gold at the Gold Coast’ games in four weeks time.

Scotland managed to lift the Challenge Trophy, with victory over the improved Spanish team. Samoa again finished in 13th place, and don’t seem to have improved over the two North American legs. Russia trails in their battle with Spain for 15th place in the series, and each just needs to make better decisions and retain seven men at all times, to (possibly) take a scalp of a more fancied team.

HSBC Canada 7s: Player accolades

DHL Impact Player

The Scots had big smiles after winning the Challenge Trophy, with Glenn Bruce showing his wide range of skills.

HSBC Dream Team

Collins Injera added yet another ‘Dream Team’ to his collection, as did the magical Perry Baker but John Porch earns more praise and is a star who fits well into this group.

HSBC World Series Table

Samoa and France have dropped away, to leave a clear top 8 sides. Within this group, Argentina seem like a side who could soon put all their cards on the table. They must aim high on the next two legs, and Kenya too should look to go one better – before the Blitzboks amount a consistent points collection, that will make it harder to overtake.

Last Word on Rugby – Final Verdict

Fiji is peaking in time for the Commonwealth Games. Within those teams, the Kiwis need to look at their selections; could they use a strongman like Antonio Kirikiri in their side [playing Super Rugby for the Blues]. But between the top three sides, fans know the Blitzboks will be ‘back for vengeance’ in Hong Kong, to halt the recent success of Fiji at the birthplace of Sevens.

Competition is getting harder and harder though. Sides can play well on Day One – NZ and USA – only to be halted quickly on Day Two. It is great for the development of the sport though, and the variety of winners can only help to grow the game.

However, the old ethos rings true. ‘Whoever wants it on the day, will always shine through’.


Teams now break for the Easter holidays, before the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens runs from April 6-8.

“Main photo credit”
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