2 Feb 2016

Sport: Fiji and Samoa come up short at the Wellington Sevens

8:29 am on 2 February 2016

Fiji and Samoa have been left to lick their wounds after coming up short at the Wellington Sevens.

Fiji relinquished top spot in the World Series standings after being thrashed by South Africa 31-0 in the Cup semi finals, while New Zealand defended their Wellington title.

Fiji sevens captain Osea Kolinisau finds open space against the USA.

Fiji sevens captain Osea Kolinisau finds open space against the USA. Photo: World Rugby / Martin Seras Lima

Coach Ben Ryan likened the result to a boxing match where they weren't able to throw any punches.

"We were just stuck in the corner a little bit, getting frustrated - by their tactics as well, which was credit to South Africa flooding breakdowns, bodies all over the place, making it hard for the referees to referee it and they just suffocated it. That was that - take your medicine and we learn from it and we make sure when we play South Africa again we don't repeat that. Six games now against South Africa - we've won four of them. We've got a good record against them but you're only as good as your last game and I think I consider South Africa as our last game perhaps, not [the third place playoff against] England."

Ben Ryan labelled it possibly their worst defeat during his three years in charge, saying they haven't played that badly since losing the semi final in London in May, after they had secured the World Series title.

"It was one of those that was a bit of a coach-killer, it was a bit of a flat performance - I didn't see it coming. We'd prepared well but we just didn't react to what plan A was for South Africa and unfortunately a few things didn't quite go right and it just turned into a plane crash".

Having finished bottom of their pool, Samoa won the final four matches against England, Wales, Canada and Scotland to claim the bowl title.

Samoa celebrate winning the bowl title.

Samoa celebrate winning the bowl title. Photo: World Rugby / Martin Seras Lima

Coach Damian McGrath said it might not be obvious but they are making progress.

"We started off with the shield at the last tournament [and] we've got the bowl here - we're going forwards. I don't count the USA game - where we were robbed with another controversial decison - as a loss. We lost one game in the whole weekend [not counting the USA game] - that says a lot to me. The players have got a great deal of confidence out of today - they realise with nine men they're as good as teams that are putting out 12. It's a mindset, it's about being disciplined on and off the field. They held their discipline the longer the tournament went on so that's really pleased me and it gives me great hope for the future. We've only got a small squad and keeping them healthy is the biggest issue for us at the moment."

Fiji and Samoa have been drawn in the same pool for this weekend's tournament in Sydney, alongside France and Argentina.