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Sunday, 26 March, 2000, 14:05 GMT
Kiwis claim Hong Kong crown

New Zealand have now won the title seven times
New Zealand enhanced their reputation as stars of the sevens game with a crushing victory over defending champions Fiji in the final of the Hong Kong Sevens.

The Fijians, who were pre-tournament favourites and are renowned as the most successful side in the shorter version of rugby union, were brushed aside 31-5.

Emerging teams like South Korea joined the likes of Fiji in Hong Kong
Justin Wilson and Craig De Goldie scored two tries each as New Zealand won the tournament for the seventh time - and the first time since 1996.

The Hong Kong event also acts as the eighth leg of the 10-city inaugural World Sevens Series.

And the result means New Zealand and Fiji are now neck-and-neck with four victories each.

Fiji, who have won the Hong Kong title nine times, started brightly and took the lead with a try by Fero Lasagavibnau.

World Sevens wins
Fiji: Stellenbosch (SA), Mar del Pata (Arg), Wellington (NZ), Brisbane (Aus)
NZ: Dubai, Punte del Este (Uru), Suva (Fiji), Hong Kong
Remaining fixtures: Tokyo (Jap), Paris (Fra)
But captain Waisale Serevi - rated as arguably the finest player in sevens history - missed the conversion and from then on New Zealand began to dominate.

The Kiwis struck back with tries from Wilson, Tony Monaghan and subsitute De Goldie to lead 19-5 at half-time.

After the break De Goldie and Wilson both claimed their second tries and the gifted Serevi - known to fans as "the magician" - was unable to inspire a fightback from his side.

England will be pleased to have made the semi-finals
The complete a miserable afternoon for Fiji, Villame Satala was sent off in the final minute of the game.

New Zealand had reached the final by trouncing arch rivals Australia 26-0, while in the other semi-final Fiji destroyed England 52-7.

However, the English will regard their efforts on reaching the last four as a success, having entered the tournament for the first time since 1997.

France beat Croatia 19-14 in extra time to win the Plate event for teams that finished in second place in preliminary group play.

HK Sevens fans
Festival atmosphere: The HK Sevens are one of rugby's great occasions
And Ireland whipped China 59-7 for victory in the Bowls competition, which involves teams that finished last in the preliminary rounds.

The 24 teams in the tournament were divided into groups of six. The winners of each group, together with the two best second-place teams, then advanced to Sunday's main Cup competition after the end of two days of round-robin play.

  • The World Sevens series moves to Tokyo on April 1 and will end in Paris in May.

    Hong Kong Sevens results:

    Cup competition:

    New Zealand 31-5 Fiji

    Fiji 52-7 England
    New Zealand 26-0 Australia

    Fiji 50-0 Samoa
    England 14-12 South Africa
    Australia 31-5 Canada
    New Zealand 29-0 Argentina

    Plate competition

    France 19-14 Croatia

    Croatia 14-10 Hong Kong
    France 19-14 Italy

    Hong Kong 20-0 Japan
    Croatia 42-7 USA
    Italy 21-19 South Korea
    France 19-7 Scotland

    Bowl competition:

    Ireland 59-7 China

    Ireland 56-0 Thailand
    China 26-17 Arabian Gulf

    Quarter-finals: Ireland 12-5 Taipei
    Thailand 28-12 Malaysia
    Arabian Gulf 45-7 Singapore
    China 26-5 Sri Lanka

    Qualifying results:

    Pool A:
    Fiji 80-0 China
    United States 17-12 South Korea
    United States 40-0 China
    Fiji 33-12 South Korea
    Fiji 54-7 United States
    South Korea 49-14 China

    Pool B
    New Zealand 64-5 Singapore
    Italy 19-7 Japan
    Japan 43-0 Singapore
    New Zealand 38-0 Italy
    Italy 48-0 Singapore
    New Zealand 45-0 Japan

    Pool C:
    Australia 54-0 Thailand
    Hong Kong 24-14 Scotland
    Scotland 50-14 Thailand
    Australia 19-5 Hong Kong
    Hong Kong 55-5 Thailand
    Australia 33-5 Scotland

    Pool D
    England 45-5 Arabian Gulf
    Samoa 36-3 Sri Lanka
    England 57-0 Sri Lanka
    Samoa 33-5 Arabian Gulf
    Sri Lanka 24-12 Arabian Gulf
    England 22-12 Samoa

    Pool E
    X-South Africa 21-19 Chinese-Taipei
    France 10-7 Croatia
    France 31-0 Chinese-Taipei
    South Africa 26-14 Croatia
    Croatia 45-7 Chinese-Taipei
    South Africa 10-7 France

    Pool F
    Canada 68-0 Malaysia
    Argentina 34-0 Ireland
    Argentina 59-5 Malaysia
    Canada 19-5 Ireland
    Ireland 31-12 Malaysia
    Canada 14-7 Argentina

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    See also:

    23 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
    Fiji tipped to keep Hong Kong crown
    08 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
    Seniors set for sevens debut
    03 Dec 99 | Rugby Union
    NZ storm Dubai
    02 Dec 99 | Rugby Union
    Scots crash out of Sevens
    01 Dec 99 | Rugby Union
    Kiwis hoping for sevens success
    17 Sep 99 | Fiji
    Fiji: Sevens specialists
    28 Mar 99 | Rugby Union
    Fiji win Hong Kong Sevens
    14 Sep 98 | Commonwealth Games
    All Blacks go for gold
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