Samoa win first ever Cup title
3 FEBRUARY 2007
Samoa produced the shock result of the year so far to defeat firm favourites Fiji 17-14 in the final of the NZI Sevens and win their first ever IRB Sevens World Series Cup title.The result casts wide open the Series race ahead of the fourth event next week, the USA Sevens in San Diego.
Fiji had sauntered through the NZI Sevens for the loss of just seven points - perhaps too easily - but Samoa's physicality and cast iron will in the end proved too much as even the jinxing Ryder and Nabuliwaqa and towering Semisi Naevo could do nothing to stop Mikaele Pesamino inspire Samoan success.
Pesamino crossed inside the first minute to give Samoa a 7-0 lead, which they held until half time. With the Westpac crowd evenly split between the two sides the second half was as thrilling as it was physical and a further well worked effort by Ofisa Treviranus took the Samoans clear before a rare penalty goal by Lolo Lui crucially put them 17-0 up. Fiji grabbed two late tries through Cakalinivalli and Roko but they proved nothing more than scant consolation.Defending champions Fiji earlier produced a near faultless display to beat hosts New Zealand 31-0 to make their first Cup final of the 2006/07 season, while Samoa performed heroics to beat South Africa 14-12.
England win Plate
England came from behind to beat France in a tight Plate final 21-12, tries from Simon Amor, Rob Thirlby and Daniel Gray overhauling a lead established through efforts from Montagnat and Deniau.
The result means that England repeat their performance of last year in Wellington, taking eight series points, while France travel on to San Diego with six.
England recovered from their Cup quarter final loss against New Zealand to come from behind and beat Canada 29-7 with Daniel Gray among the tries.
Thierry Janeczek's side built a 19-0 lead against crowd favourites Kenya and, despite a brief rally by the African side, ran out 26-5 winners in their semi, Nicolas Couttet's late try sealing the victory. Canada and Kenya each take four series points from Wellington.
Pumas win Bowl
Argentina overcame Tonga in a physical bowl final to win 12-5 and take two points for the series. Tevita Tuifua put the Tongans ahead but Francisco Bosch pulled the Pumas level just before the break. The second half was tighter still as both sides' defences held firm until Bosch pounced on Santiago Gomez Cora's clever through kick to seal victory.
Tonga earlier overcame first Papua New Guinea and then the Cook Islands to reach the Bowl final with Tuifua impressive throughout.
Argentina needed extra time to secure their final place after Australia fought from behind to level before Pablo Gomez Cora scored the golden try to take them through.
Portugal capture Shield title
Portugal set aside the disappointment of their opening loss on day two against the Cook Islands to take the Shield title, beating Scotland in the final.With coach Tomaz Morais and a clutch of players on European Nations Cup duty, the side did their country proud to beat a rejuvenated Scotland 26-24 in a fine match, Sebastiao Cunha crossing at the death to snatch what had looked an unlikely victory.Portugal earlier overcame a spirited Papua New Guinean effort to win 26-19, while Scotland had to come from behind to beat Al Caravelli's USA side by the same scoreline.