Alosio Naduva was awarded the UL Mark of Excellence award on day two of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney even after Fiji finished fourth in the tournament.
England finished third for the first time this season after beating Fiji 19-17, with Apenisa Cakaubalavu scoring a hat-trick in vain. Fiji trailed 19-0 when Cakaubalavu’s quickfire double made for a nervy finish, but his third score came after the full-time hooter.
Tom Bowen ran in two glorious first half tries to put England in command. Harry Glover found him on the right wing for his first before a lovely long ball from Tom Mitchell set Bowen up to beat Alasio Naduva with ease. Will Muir added a third just after half-time to give England breathing room before the nervy finale.
Fiji beat Australia in the first quarter-final in a match which could easily have served as the final. Maurice Longbottom put the hosts ahead but appeared to injure his hamstring in the process. He was withdrawn and Fiji hit back instantly, Terio Veilawa cutting open Australia on the inside. Mesulame Kunavala added a second before being sin binned, allowing Jeral Skelton to showcase his fancy footwork. Jesse Parahi and Alasio Naduva exchanged tries before Naduva stole victory on the stroke of the final hooter.
But Fiji were eliminated in bizarre circumstances against New Zealand, playing at one point with five men after Sevuloni Mocenacagi saw red and Meli Derenalagi was sent to the sin bin. Mocenacagi was red carded for lifting Scott Gregory above the horizontal while Derenalagi went for a late tackle. Gregory added to Ng Shiu’s early score with Kurt Baker and Koroi adding a pair of tries against the depleted Fijians.
England made a fast start in their semi-final against USA, with Dan Norton strolling in a try. But they responded quickly with Barrett applying sustained pressure as Steve Tomasin levelled up, before Ben Pinkleman scored the winning try just before half-time.
England had earlier convincingly seen off South Africa in the quarter-final, with Charlton Kerr, Mitchell, Phil Burgess and Bowen running in tries in a 26-5 victory.
New Zealand cruised past France in the quarter-finals, running in four tries, while USA came from behind to thump Spain. Madison Hughes and Tomasin completed doubles in a 38-10 win after Javier Carrion had put Spain ahead.