The Fiji Airways Mens 7s side finished fifth in the first tournament of the new world series season in Dubai this morning.
South Africa and Fiji, the top two in the 2018 series, played out another classic encounter but this time with fifth place at stake.
Jerry Tuwai was ruled out due to injury against South Africa while Beniamino Vota and Amenoni Nasilasila were suspended.
Both teams were locked at 19 all at full time before debutante and Yasawa speedster Aminiasi Tuimaba scored in extra time.
The two went blow-for-blow before Muller du Plessis’ hat-trick try, and Dewald Human’s boot, gave South Africa a sniff of a 19-14 victory.
However, Waisea Nacuqu had other ideas and his breakaway try levelled the scores, only for Vilimoni Botitu to step up and miss the straightforward conversion to mean extra-time would decide the winner.
South Africa’s defence intially held firm but Aminiasi Tuimaba, playing in his first tournament, confidently chipped ahead and collected his own kick to score the winning try.
South Africa’s Muller du Plessis had earlier scored the only try of a first half that saw both his side and Scotland have men sent to the sin-bin.
The Blitzboks went through the gears early in the second and looked like the side that had won the last two titles in Dubai, Du Plessis grabbing a second with Werner Kok, Selvyn Davids and Rosko Specman getting their name on the scoreboard, the latter delighted the crowd with his electric footwork.
South Africa leant on their trademark physicality in defence in the final minutes, Selvyn Davids halted Kyle Steyn with the line in sight and they resolutely kept Scotland out for a 29-0 win.
Fiji also showed the type of rugby that they’re known for in their semi-final. Despite missing an injured Jerry Tuwai, the team’s offloading brilliance, scorching pace and neat footwork handed them a handsome 24-7 advantage after seven minutes.
Marcos Moroni led the way for Argentina with his athletic try off the first kick and his try at the start of the second half, but Fiji had too much to handle despite finishing the 31-21 win with six players after Amenoni Nasilasila was red-carded.