New Zealand beat Fiji to win Punta sevens
Punta del Este
January 9, 2000
New Zealand powered to a 42-19 win over Fiji in Saturday night's final of the Punte del Este Gold Cup sevens tournament here.
The win saw New Zealand, who had been locked level with Fiji at the head of the standings in the IRB series of sevens tournaments, take the overall lead after two wins in the opening three events.
The fourth tournament in the 1999-2000 series is next weekend in Buenos Aires.
It was the sixth straight year that New Zealand won the Uruguay event - and it came with another series of sizzling performances.
Led by skipper Eric Rush, New Zealand ran in six tries to three in beating the Fijians in the final.
New Zealand cleverly restricted the space the Fijians need to play their typical running game and restricted them to three tries - all scored by Filimoni Delasau, the tournament's leading scorer.
Fiji's hopes were dealt a bitter blow when they lost their sevens star Waisele Serevi with an injury after just 14 minutes of the championship game.
Australia, the world champions at the 15-a-side game, were beaten by Samoa in the quarter-finals earlier Saturday, but bounced back to beat Canada 27-12 in the final of the plate competition.
Richard Graham crossed for three tries and Matt Isaac and Peter Miller one each in Australias victory over Canada.
Samoa found they were in turn no match for impressive Fiji in the main tournament with the Fijians beating them 19-7 in the semis.
New Zealand reached the final by hammering South Africa 31-7 in their semi.
There was earlier drama in the quarter-final tie between South Africa and Argentina before the South Africans emerged 24-19 winners after extra-time with the sides having been locked at 19-19 after regulation time.