Fiji win in Paris to clinch World Rugby Sevens title

Paris (AFP) –


Olympic champions Fiji captured their third World Rugby Sevens Series title in five years on Sunday as they won the season-ending tournament in Paris.

Fiji defeated series runners-up the United States 33-14 in the semi-finals to ensure they would finish as champions. They celebrated their triumph in style by beating New Zealand 35-24 in the final.

It was a fifth victory this season for the Fijians in the 10-leg competition, and gave them a fourth overall title, adding to wins in 2006, 2015 and 2016.

Fiji captain Josua Vakurunabili said he told his teammates to "make people back home and your family proud".

"In the huddle I said to the boys, 'If you want to be a history maker don't let this moment pass you,'" he said.

Fiji had finished second a year ago after slipping up in the final round at the Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris, allowing South Africa to pip them to the title.

They ensured there was no repeat in the sweltering conditions in the French capital, sweeping the hosts aside 24-5 in the quarter-finals to underline their intent at the start of the final day.

The top four teams in the series standings -- Fiji, USA, New Zealand and South Africa -- qualify automatically for next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Japan were relegated from the circuit after finishing 15th overall, as Wales held on to the final place among the elite top 14 nations.