Fijians show their flair

FIJIAN flair was all the rage at the inaugural Gold Coast Sevens in Surfers Paradise on the weekend.

Having dominated the opening day’s proceedings with an expansive and exciting brand of sevens, and having survived a couple of nervy semi-final moments, it was the crowd- favourite Fijians who faced off in Sunday’s grand final.

In an all-Fijian affair it was competition favourites, South Sea Drifters who prevailed over the Uprising Beach Resort 17-7 in a hard-fought contest.

However it was the underdog Uprising boys who opened the scoring with a surprise try to Waisea Vuidravuwalu in the opening minutes of the game.

A successful conversion gave the Uprising team a 7-0 lead and they looked set to cause their “big brother” a major headache.

But the well-drilled, more experienced Drifters hit back with tries to Kiniviliame Radaveta and Erueli Naivukedrau – whose outstretched one-arm try just before half-time proved crucial.

Play see-sawed back and forth in an enthralling second half, highlighted by some spectacular play from inspirational Drifters captain Daniele Tabuakuru.

His hard running and bone-crunching defence captivated the vocal 5000-strong crowd, and ultimately proved the difference between the two sides.

It appeared the game would finish at 10-7 until Inia Danasauta scooped up the ball from the back of a ruck and skipped over under the posts to put the result beyond doubt.

For their efforts Drifters recived the inaugural Hyperion Cup trophy and a cheque for $20,000. However, they were lucky to make it to the final in the first place, having come from behind in extra time to beat the emerging Queensland Barbarians in a heart-stopping semi.

The Barbarians led until the final seconds, when the Drifters scored after the bell and then scored again early in the first half of golden point, to win 19-14.

The Uprising team was too classy for the Aussie Spirit team that will represent Australia in the IRB World Series in Dubai next week, in the other semi-final, running out winners 26-19.

The women’s final saw the talented Eastsyde Women’s outfit run out four-tries-to-one winners over the star-studded Sydney team, 26-7, with Shannon Parry scoring twice for Eastsyde.

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