In London, at the final tournament for 2014-2015 HSBC Sevens circuit, Fiji was crowned the World Series winner for the first time since 2006.
Their quarter-final victory over South Africa meant that no matter the outcome of the tournament, Fiji would finish ahead of nearest rivals South Africa. It was a deserved crown for Fiji, who under tutelage of Ben Ryan, have produced consistent and disciplined sevens rugby this season, without sacrifice to their flamboyance and flair in creating a breath-taking rugby spectacle that is the hallmark of Fijian play.
In London, the Plate was won by New Zealand, who beat South Africa 26-14; Kenya won the Bowl beating Argentina 26-12; and Japan the Shield beating France 21-19. Sadly for Japan, as the bottom placed team in the overall Series, they will be replaced by Russia next season.
In the main Cup competition, this was ominously and deservedly won by the USA. They comfortably beat Australia in the final 45-22.
Throughout the tournament, four players stood out: their speedsters Carlin Isles and Perry Baker, playmaker Madison Hughes and their powerful Fijian Andrew Durutalo. It was the USA’s first victory at a Sevens series tournament, and it could not have been timed better for preparations for Rio in 2016.
The USA are the defending champions from the 1924 games… in fact, by the time Rio comes round, the USA will be undefeated at the Olympics for nearly hundred years! And the way Mike Friday is crafting the team; it may well stay that way!
The four teams to get direct entry into the Rio Games: Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand and England who will represent team UK.
Grahame Carder is a sports enthusiast and former player from representative Schoolboy level, through University and most corners where he’s lived. Currently works as Consultant on Strategy and Marketing.