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Fiji fall apart in Singapore 7s final

17 April 2019

For about three hours on Saturday (April 13), defending HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens champions Fiji were teetering towards an unthinkable failure. Nineteen points down at halftime in the gold medal match, the Blitzboks rolled off three tries and a late penalty to secure a remarkable 20-19 turnaround victory.

The leading four teams at the end of the series will book a berth at next year's Games in Tokyo. Fiji hoisted the Cup last weekend in Hong Kong. Fiji also lost to Scotland and only just scraped through to the final.

Fiji, now on 142 points, cut the USA's lead at the top of the standings to just three points with New Zealand sitting in third on 130 points.

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Later on Sunday, the South Africans will take on the U.S. in a semifinal match at 9:50am, while with the other last-four encounter will be contested between Fiji and England. Thereafter Selvyn Davids, who already kicked a conversion, stepped up and added a penalty goal that pushed them into a 20-19 lead. But the French pulled ahead on second-half tries by Remi Siega and Tavite Veredamu.

Aminiasi Tuimaba scored after two minutes, slipping a tackle and finishing a superb solo break for his 17th try in his last 18 matches.

The floodgates opened in the second half with the Blitzboks chalking up 24 unanswered points.

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But the Blitzboks roared back in the second spell, with Kurt-Lee Arendse, Angelo Davids and Ryan Oosthuizen dotting down to cut the deficit to two points with two minutes remaining, while Aminiasi Tuimaba was also shown a yellow card for a risky tackle.

South Africa coach Neil Powell stirred up his young players during the halftime interval and they were a different team in the second half, eliminating errors and playing with much more focus.

Tim Walsh's men have slipped to seventh, well behind fourth-ranked South Africa and with no realistic chance of catching them at the remaining tournaments in London and Paris. "They hung onto every word we said and started to believe it".

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Fiji fall apart in Singapore 7s final