Olympic champions Fiji edged South Africa 12-10 in a final played in testing conditions on Sunday to win the Sydney leg of the Rugby Sevens World Series.
Napolioni Bolaca scored two tries in the final as Fiji won for the first time in four rounds of the World Series this season.
Thunderstorms, including lightning and torrential rain, delayed the men’s and women’s finals at the Bankwest Stadium and both titles went to teams who were able to minimise errors in wet and slippery conditions.
“Before we came onto the field, I told my team first and foremost to come out here and enjoy themselves and let’s do the job,” said Fiji captain Meli Derenalagi.
“We were able to deliver it and I want to thank the guys for the great effort today.”
Fiji took a major step towards the title as they beat New Zealand 24-6 in pool play to finish top of Group A. They then defeated England 17-14 in a tight semi-final to set up a clash with unbeaten South Africa.
The Blitz Boks were victorious over France, Argentina and Samoa in a tough Pool B, then beat the United States 19-12 in another close semi.
The United States beat England 17-10 in the playoff for third place.
The New Zealand men, who won the last leg of the series in Hamilton, also stayed top of the standings after beating Australia 24-7 in a playoff for fifth. South Africa stayed in second after winning the opening round of the series and finishing as runners-up in Cape Town and Sydney.
NZ women outclass Canada
New Zealand beat Canada 33-7 in the women’s final to extend their lead atop the World Series standings.
The Black Ferns were always dominant in the women’s competition, beating Japan, Russia and England in pool matches.
They beat France 24-7 in the semis and outclassed Canada in the final, scoring five tries to one.
“Canada is such a tough team,” said Tyla Nathan-Wong, who was Player of the Final. “Whenever we play them, we know they’re going to bring it and they’re so physical as well.