New Zealand's Sevens World Series title has passed to Fiji.

Fiji's 19-7 victory in the quarter-final against South Africa sealed their second overall triumph in 16 seasons, nine years after their last.

The All Blacks Sevens side have won 12 of the series stretching back to the 1999-00 season. This season's title loss was exacerbated by a 21-17 defeat to England in the quarter-finals, leaving the Gordon Tietjens-coached side to contest the Plate. They beat South Africa 26-14, but remained third behind those same opponents across the season.

The United States captured their maiden sevens title after beating Australia 45-22 in the final.


Fiji's overall win boosts the country's hopes of attaining their first Olympic medal next year. Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand and Britain (courtesy of England's fourth place) are the automatic Games qualifiers from this season's series. Brazil qualify automatically as hosts. Seven other spots are available. The likes of Australia and Samoa will play off for the one vacant Oceania berth in November.

Tietjens was realistic in the circumstances, accepting they'd been beaten by a Fijian side which had been more consistent across the year, winning four tournaments to New Zealand's one.

"Once they won their quarter-final the title race was out of our control. There was still a keenness to win this tournament, but we got off to such a slow start against England going down 14-0 at halftime.

"We missed a couple of tackles, were slow to react to a penalty for the first try and generally got punished early.

"We lacked possession in the first half and missed touch in opting for a lineout. That's ball we should have kept and launched attacks from, but we had to defend, and England scored again.

"At the start we didn't hunt as much as we should have, but by the end we were putting phases together."

Tietjens lamented a severe injury toll, meaning he couldn't tap into the services of Sam Dickson and Declan O'Donnell. The side also could not use Joe Webber, Tim Mikkelson and Ambrose Curtis at this tournament.

"That put pressure on the newcomers, in one case [Isaac Te Tamaki] playing his first tournament. The opposition sensed we were down on numbers."


Yesterday the New Zealand women's side lost their first tournament of the parallel series. They were beaten 24-5 by Australia in the semi-finals before edging the United States 24-19 in the third-placed play-off. Australia beat Canada 20-17 in the final.

New Zealand sits on 96 points and wins the overall series regardless of this week's last round in Amsterdam where the winner takes 20 points. Canada and Australia are second-equal on 76 points. Teams earn one point for qualifying.