Alasio Naduva scored a hat-trick as Fiji beat the Blitzboks 24-17 in the Cup final of the Hamilton Sevens on Saturday, MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
In the 17th Cup final between the sides (Fiji had previously won nine and South Africa seven), both teams unleashed the full bag of tricks in a breathtaking display of attacking sevens rugby. In the end, Fiji had enough firepower to outlast the series leaders.
South Africa were first to launch an attack, and Fiji went for the big play when they tried an intercept out wide, but the ball was knocked, forcing the referee to award a yellow card.
The Blitzboks took advantage of the man-over they had on attack and when Branco du Preez broke the defensive line, Kwagga Smith was in support to receive the final pass to score in the corner.
Fiji hit back immediately through Naduva to level the scores at 5-5. But South Africa struck a double blow before the break when captain Kyle Brown and Du Preez dotted down for a 17-5 lead.
With South Africa threatening to cut loose, Fiji produced a moment of magic when a miracle back-flick pass went to Naduva, who cantered away for his second try.
Du Preez was then sent off for a late tackle, and from there Fiji seized control.
In one of the most exhilarating passages of play of the weekend, Tim Agaba saved the Blitzboks with an intercept right on the tryline. From there, Werner Kok went on a rampaging run down the right flank, but Fiji retained possession from a counter-ruck and went on a lethal counter-attack to score a brilliant try at the other end of the field.
The Pacific Islanders struck the decisive blow when Eroni Sau bumped off Seabelo Senatla to score a try that extended their lead to seven.
And while there was still time for the restart, the Blitzboks knocked the ball on and the final whistle was blown.
Photo: Getty Images