22 May 2016

Fiji seal successive World Series titles

2:14 pm on 22 May 2016

Fiji have won back to back Sevens World Series titles after reaching the Cup quarter-finals at the final round in London.

Fiji huddle together during the Cape Town Sevens.

The World Series champion Fiji Sevens team. Photo: World Rugby

Fiji beat Australia 26-0 in their final pool game at Twickenham to seal their progression and secure their second successive world series title.

New Zealand also topped their pool following wins over Russia and Brazil and a draw with Argentina.

Despite losing their opening match 31-10 to England, 42-5 and 26-0 wins over Wales and Australia booked Fiji's place in the last eight and confirmed their status as series champions with an insurmountable lead at the top of the standings.

Former rugby league and NFL player Jarryd Hayne made his debut for Fiji, but looked well short of the conditioning required for Sevens, playing just 10 minutes in their first two pool games, and came on for just the final minute against Australia.

Hayne is yet to score a try and is facing a monumental task to realise his Rio Olympics dream, Fiji coach Ben Ryan said.

"His fitness is way down on our boys and that's why we're moderating what he's doing, he was pretty sore come Friday after consecutive training in what's been a light week for us," Ryan said.

Fiji's Jarryd Hayne with captain Osea Kolinisau at training in London.

Fiji's Jarryd Hayne with captain Osea Kolinisau at training in London. Photo: World Rugby / Martin Seras Lima

He said he was "nowhere near a judgement" on Hayne's Olympic chances.

"I'd be an idiot of a coach if having played five minutes in the World Series I can start to make assumptions on where he can go... He's a good footballer but we've got world class players, we're the reigning world champions," Ryan said.

"When we go into the Olympic camp there's no hiding place, we don't pick by face, we pick by form and he'll have six or seven weeks to prove himself."

"If he gets into our side because of form in seven weeks time then he's done remarkably well and if he doesn't it just shows the quality we've got," Ryan said.

Hayne, speaking after the win over Wales, said he was still adjusting to the game.

"It's not about game time, it's about going out there and doing a job for the team," he said.

"It's all hard, continuous, I got caught in the ruck a couple of times too.

"That was a good learning curve and when you're rucking and trying to ruck the ball obviously you exert a lot of energy.

"It's so much faster, it's a lot quicker, (I'm) still getting used to it. I'm just being a sponge and learning as much as I can," Hayne said.

After opening up with the impressive win over Fiji, the hosts went on to beat Australia 10-7 and Wales 24-5 to finish unbeaten on day one and top their pool.

England will face Scotland in the Cup quarter-finals while France await Fiji.

South Africa were the only other side to win all three of their pool matches at Twickenham, with victories over Canada, USA and last week's champions Samoa who finished bottom of Pool A.

South Africa will meet Argentina in the last eight, a repeat of the Cape Town Sevens final.

Elsewhere France topped Pool C after beating Portugal, Kenya and drawing with Scotland while defending London champions the United States reached the last eight on points difference after a 12-12 draw with North American rivals Canada.

New Zealand's Tim Mikkelson in action.

New Zealand's Tim Mikkelson in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The USA will play New Zealand who topped Pool D on points difference after ending their day with a 14-14 draw with Los Pumas, following a 31-0 win over Brazil and a 33-10 defeat of Russia.

-RNZ

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