Fiji wins London Sevens and takes over world series lead

LONDON (AP) — Fiji successfully defended the London Sevens title at Twickenham on Sunday and took over as the sevens rugby world series leader with a round to go.

The Fijians were too polished for Australia in the final, winning 43-7 from 24-0 at halftime.

Fiji came to London trailing only the United States by three points in the world series, and goes to the final round in Paris next weekend leading by two.

But the Fijians won't be underestimating the task of claiming a first world series since 2016. They led into Paris last year, crumbled, and watched South Africa win the Paris Sevens and the series.

The Americans have led this series until London, and lost to Fiji 17-10 in a thrilling semifinal. They finished third to ensure the 10-leg series will be decided on the last day in Paris.

Vilimoni Botitu's second line break of the final earned him the opening try in the third minute, and then it became the Aminiasi Tuimaba show, as he scored a hat trick in six minutes to halftime. Meli Derenalagi featured in all three with incredible offloads to earn the man of the match award.

Australia finally hit back after halftime through Ben O'Donnell setting up Joe Pincus.

But Fiji ruled to the end.

Josua Vakurunabili stole an Australia throw-in to score, then set up Alasio Naduva's first try, moments after Naduva was denied by video replay which showed he stepped in touch.

Fiji garnished the final with a seventh and last stunning try when Livai Ikanikoda took the restart leaping high and sent Naduva haring away to the try-line to complete the biggest winning margin in a London final in 13 years.

"It's pretty special when you see it like that," Fiji coach Gareth Baber said. "That's exactly how we want to see rugby played."

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