Fiji wins its first IRB Sevens tournament of the year - knocks New Zealand out of finals again.

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The IRB World Sevens moved to San Diego in southern California, USA, last weekend.New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and France made the cup semi-finals.New Zealand and Fiji squared off in one semi-final and Samoa and France in the other.France had upset South Africa in their quarter final.

History repeated itself when Fiji knocked the six times IRB Champions New Zealand out of the finals berth. Samoa did the same to the French.

The final between Fiji and Samoa was really an anti-climax with Fiji turning the tables on the Wellington Sevens winner, Samoa last weekend.

After four rounds of the IRB Sevens Championship there have been four individual tournament winners: Dubai, South Africa; George (South Africa), New Zealand; Wellington (New Zealand), Samoa; and San Diego(USA), Fiji. New Zealand and Fiji jointly lead the points table halfway through the championship.

New Zealand were until a year ago unbeaten in the IRB Championship, having won six out of six, but Fiji won last year.New Zealand's reign at the top of the Sevens tree ended because they have continuosly lost their best Sevens players to the 15-a-side Super 14 professional rugby franchises.Only at the Commonwealth Games were New Zealand's top players made available, and they won the Gold Medal in the finals of that tournament.

As a consequence world rugby is unlikely to see the power and skills of New Zealand teams being almost unbeatable as in the past.If a Sevens player shows his ability he will be snapped up by the Super 14 franchises the next season.Sevens rugby has become the national sport of Fiji and that nation appears to be the dominant force in future.

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p j petterson (Homepage) on March 1, 2007 at 8:11 AM
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