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Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK

Fiji seal final spot

By Charlie Henderson
BBC Sport Online

Fiji have come from behind in their semi-final against South Africa to set up a final against New Zealand in the Commonwealth Games sevens tournament.

The All Blacks brushed past Samoa with ease in the first semi-final, scoring five tries in a 31-12 victory.

Fiji's victory over the Springboks was in the balance until the final moments, a last-minute try adding a gloss to the 17-7 winning margin.


New Zealand 31-12 Samoa

New Zealand completely over-ran Samoa in a one-sided semi-final contest.

The All Blacks scored the first points and never looked back as they continued to defend their Commonwealth crown in style.

But even before Bruce Reihana's second-minute opening score they had stamped their authority on the contest.

The ball worked its way through every pair of hands in the team with pace and variation before the Northampton-bound Reihana capitalised on an overlap to score in the right-hand corner.

And the same tactics of sucking in the Samoan defence and creating space for the extra man were the key to Brad Fleming's try in the same spot three minutes later.

Samoa, like Scotland and Wales before them, were unable to get their hands on the ball and before long the All Blacks had crossed again - in the same spot.

However, on this occasion they opted for the more direct route, captain Eric Rush bursting through onto an inside pass and racing clear to score.

A second from Fleming finished the game as a contest, and Samoa were left with the consolation of "winning" the second half.

After the interval Lome Fatau scored on two rare Samoan sorties, sandwiching a fifth New Zeland try from Mils Muliaina.

Fiji 17-7 South Africa

Rupeni Caucaunibuca was the game-breaker as Fiji edged out South Africa in the second semi-final.

The Springboks started brightly, a long, flat miss-pass from Jean de Villiers finding Anton Pitout on the touchline. The winger duly raced in un-opposed.

However, from that moment on South Africa found themselves on the back foot.

Fiji played with an aggressive defence, probing for an opening deep in South African territory for the majority of the rest of the first half.

They finally found an opening on the half-time whistle when Caucaunibuca cleverly dinked a grubber kick ahead and beat the turning defence to the touchdown.

After the break Caucaunibuca showed his pace, racing clear from inside his own half, with the added conversion giving the Fijians a 12-7 lead.

With time running out South Africa upped the tempo but in trying to force an opening in the search of a potential match-winning score, they left themselves open to the counter attack.

And that was the exact fate they suffered when Waisale Serevi's enveloping tackle on de Villiers saw the ball bobble free.

Vilimoni Delasau pounced on the loose ball and ran the length of the pitch to draw level with Caucaunibuca at the top of the try scoring charts with his ninth touchdown.

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