Fijiana caused the surprise of the opening day at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens 2019 with an impressive 38-19 defeat of Russia at Cape Town Stadium on Friday.
The first ever women’s competition to be played in the Mother City – the 16th location in the history of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – had otherwise seen the top five nations in the standings enjoy comfortable wins in their opening pool matches.
Fiji enjoyed a dream start against Russia, scoring with just 20 seconds played through Roela Radiniyavuni. A great hand-off from Fiji captain Raijieli Daveua saw her extend the lead to 12-0, but Russia came storming back with tries by Elena Zdrokova and Kristina Seredina (2) to lead 19-12 at half-time. The second half was all Fiji, though, with their physicality resulting in a four-try blitz with Daveua scoring her second and Tokasa Seniyasi grabbing a brace in the 38-19 win.
New Zealand had two players celebrating birthdays on day one at Cape Town Stadium in World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year 2019 Ruby Tui and Alena Saili, the latter celebrating her 21st with two first-half tries against invitational side South Africa who were playing on home soil for the first time. The Dubai winners ran in six tries in total, debutant Mahina Paul – a gold medallist at the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 – scoring the last one in a 40-0 victory.