Fiji wins record 5th straight at Hong Kong Rugby Sevens crown

Coach dedicates trophy to victims of Christchurch

2019 Getty Images

Vilimoni Botitu of Fiji celebrates after beating France in the final on day three of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens at the Hong Kong Stadium on April 7 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

There is just no stopping Fiji at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

Fiji won for a record fifth straight time by defeating an in-form France 21-7 at the Hong Kong stadium Sunday, a result that also sent the winners' past New Zealand and into second place in the World Rugby Sevens Series standings.

Fiji coach Gareth Baber called it a "fantastic feeling" while also dedicating the trophy to the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks last month that left at least 50 people dead and injured at least 50 others.

"It's a fantastic feeling and I'm sure that it will sink in over the next two or three days," Baber said after the game. "I think that all of this has been in the backdrop of what happened in Christchurch, obviously our hearts and our thoughts go out to all of those families and this is a dedication to them."

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The US -- beaten by Fiji in the semifinals 28-19 -- took third place over Samoa and still heads the table by seven points with three legs remaining in Singapore, London and Paris.

The top four nations directly qualify for next year's Olympics in Tokyo.

A pair of tries from player of the final Aminiasi Tuimaba and one from Vilimoni Botitu -- all converted by Livai Ikanikoda -- accounted for Fiji's scoring, with France's lone try coming through a penalty try after a high tackle stopped Gabin Villiere from touching down.

France pulled to within 7-14 but couldn't get any closer.

France had become the first European side to make the final in Hong Kong since England in 2014, knocking off Las Vegas finalist Samoa 19-12 in the last four and upsetting New Zealand 14-12 in the quarterfinals.

Although entering the Hong Kong stop in 10th place, France had momentum after finishing second to South Africa in Vancouver in the last leg.

Thus a first win in a final since 2005 could be on the way sometime soon.

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