Australia and Fiji beat reigning champs New Zealand in the women’s and men’s final respectively to be crowned Rugby World Cup 7s 2022 champions in Cape Town, South Africa.
Australia defeated New Zealand 24-22 in a nail-biting finale while Fiji, who were in great form, accounted for the All Blacks 7s men 29-12.
Fiji scored four first-half tries from Joseva Talacolo, Kaminieli Rasaku, Elia Canakaivata and Filipe Sauturaga to put the home side ahead at the breather. New Zealand responded in the second half, setting up a fiercely contested encounter to force the Fijians to go on the defense, holding on for the win.
For Fiji, it was their third RWC 7s win, having won the 1997 and 2005 editions in Hong Kong while for Australia, the win is their third title victory on the trot following their victories at the Commonwealth Games and the World 7s Series.
Jerry Tuwai told World Rugby that the win came on the back of teamwork including the management, and the coaches.
“We have so much, so much respect for New Zealand – the coaches, the players, and the captain,” Tuwai said. “We knew that they would fight back because they are a champion. We just worked hard and it happened. Thank you very much to the people of Fiji, we are so blessed we have so many supporters around the world.”
Australia women’s co-captain Charlotte Caslick said: “It’s a pretty special feat that this group of young girls has done. It was something we’ve been brave enough to put out there and put everything on the line to come away with. It’s incredible. I’m so proud of the girls – it’s been an honor to lead them this year and to watch the growth they’ve had as a group and as a team on and off the field. It’s really special for me to be a part of – at the moment I’m just really proud – proud of our coaching staff, proud of the girls, proud of (co-captain) Demi and I, and getting them to have this bond that is becoming a real force on the world stage.”
France and Ireland picked up the bronze medals in the women’s and men’s respective categories.
Fans will not have to wait long for the next taste of international action as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 begins with a men’s event in Hong Kong on 4-6 November, followed by combined men’s and women’s rounds in Dubai on 2-3 December and a return to Cape Town on 9-11 December.
The attention of the rugby world now turns to the women’s fifteens game with Rugby World Cup 2021, being played in 2022, which gets underway in New Zealand in less than a month’s time.