Fiji claim third title of the season, winning prestigious Hong Kong Sevens

Fiji are champions of the Hong Kong Sevens for the second-straight year, after beating New Zealand 21-7

Fiji claim third title of the season, winning prestigious Hong Kong Sevens
Fiji celebrate their Hong Kong Sevens win (image via: AP)

The biggest, most prestigious leg of the Sevens Series season has seen Fiji claim victory in Hong Kong for the second year in a row, as Ben Ryan's men grabbed their third title of the season.

Their 21-7 win over New Zealand in the final came on the back of a dominating possession game, as well as some high-class offloading helping to create space.

Semi Kunatani was voted man-of-the-match in the final, capping an excellent weekend for the Toulouse-man, who was arguably the best player on show all weekend. 

Fiji are now five points clear at the top of the overall standings with three leg's of the season remaining, starting with next week's debut in Singapore

Fiji retain Hong Kong title after comeback win

In a final which saw the previous two title winners this season, it was New Zealand who made the faster start, managing to build a 7-0 lead early on through Pita Akhi.

With the talismanic Tim Mikkelson and crucial forward Sam Dickson both ruled out of the final through injury, Sir Gordon Tietjens turned to the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, and it paid off in the opening half where they were comfortably on top at the breakdown.

However, they went into the break level, after Jerry Tuwai scored the equalising try for Fiji following a period of pressure close to the Kiwi line. The Fijians had injury worries of their own, and were without their top try-scorer, Savenaca Rawaca, who picked up a knock in the semi-final rout of Australia

The second-half started with Fiji taking the lead, after Kitione Taliga kept up his sensational form. Since being called in to the squad for the Las Vegas tournament, Taliga has become an ultra important part of Fiji's 12-man squad, and his speed and vision saw him cross for his team's second try. 

Kitione Taliga makes a break in Hong Kong for the Fijians (image via: World Rugby)

The game was then wrapped-up in the final few moments, when the tournament's best player, Kunatani, was involved in a length-of-the-field break before sprinting away from the covering defence to extend the lead to 14.

That proved to be enough, and Fiji equalled the New Zealanders tally of three tournament wins so far this season. They now have a five point lead at the top of the overall standings, and will be favourites to pick up the inaugural Singapore title in a week's time.

Blitzbokke miss out once more after pulsating semi defeat to Kiwis

South Africa missed out on winning a tournament once more, after falling short when it matters most in the knockout rounds. The Blitzbokke always qualify for the final four with ease, but of recent times they have fluffed their lines against the other big sides.

In a repeat of the Vancouver final, it was New Zealand who saw off Neil Powell's men after a double-overtime period which came after the sides had been locked at 7-7 for a long time. 

Tim Agaba had given the Boks a 7-0 lead after three minutes, only for the Kiwis to hit back through Lewis Ormond midway through the second period to draw the teams level. The game was still deadlocked up until the final whistle, and also during the first overtime period of five minutes, which had seen Kiwi Isaac Te Tamaki sent to the sin-bin. 

Then, with a couple of moments left in the second overtime period, some great interplay ended with Regan Ware crossing in the corner, as New Zealand progressed at the expense of South Africa. 

In the other semi-final, Fiji eased to a 34-5 win over Australia, with five different try-scorers crossing in the big victory. 

Semi Kunatani breaks against Australia (image via: AP via Fox)

England back-on-track with Plate win, whilst Japan grab 2017 full-tour status

In the minor finals, England had their best tournament in a long-time, claiming victory in the Plate final after seeing off the USA 19-0 in a one-sided final. Dan Norton was at his electric best, and the experienced heads of Tom Mitchell and James Rodwell really stepped-up for Simon Amor's side. 

Argentina grabbed victory in the Bowl, dispatching Scotland 26-0, whilst Russia won the Shield, beating Canada 19-14 after extra-time. 

This weekend in Hong Kong has also doubled as a qualifying tournament for next season, with one place up for grabs on the circuit in 2017. After three days of competition, it was Japan who finally came out on top, beating hosts, Hong Kong, 24-14 in an excellent final. Japan will now line up alongside the other tier one nations in all ten Sevens events next year, meaning that there is a team from each continent on the full-time tour. 

Japan celebrate winning the 2016 Qualifying event (image via: