Rugby in Fiji is a national pastime. The country is among the best in the sport and is currently ranked tenth globally. Fiji competed in the biggest competitions in world rugby and beat some of the top teams like Wales, Australia, Scotland, England, and Argentina. They are yet to defeat Ireland, South Africa, and New Zealand. Nonetheless, Fiji has won some tournaments. Let’s explore more.
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Rugby World Cup Sevens
In 2022, the Fiji sevens team beat defending champions New Zealand 29-12 to win the tournament in South Africa. The team played Wales, Samoa, and Australia before they got to the final. In all three matches, Fiji recorded huge victories: 29-5, 21-10 and 38-14.
This was their first time winning the event since their last World Cup in 2005. The first time they were crowned rugby champions was in 1997. The team is coached by former English player Ben Gollings. Before he got this job, he’d never coached at international level.
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Olympic Gold Medal
Fiji won back-to-back Olympic tournaments in 2016 and 2021. In Rio, the team defeated England 43-7 to win its first Olympic tournament. This was the 14th time Rugby in Fiji was at the Summer Games, and this was the first time the sevens team was in the Olympics.
In Tokyo 2021, rugby in Fiji enjoyed another seminal moment. They defended their title against New Zealand after a 27-12 victory. Before the competition, the team went to camp in April. Fijian coach Gareth Barber described the sacrifice as special.
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World Rugby Sevens Series
What else shows that Fiji is one of the best rugby teams in the world, claiming four World Rugby Sevens series titles? They first won that in 2005/06 and repeated the feat in 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2018/19.
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Hong Kong Sevens
The team has won the Hong King Seven series 20 times. Their last victory came in 2019. Between 2015 and 2019, they won the title five consecutive times, which no other team has done. They’ve also played in most finals – 30 than any other team.
After their victory in 2018, the captain of the side Jerry Tuwai said it was akin to winning the World Cup. Some of their victories happened when the country was battling with deadly damage from a storm so the team’s performance was a reprieve.
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Fijian rugby has won multiple silver medals at the Commonwealth Games. In 1998, they won the first silver and won the same in 2002, 2018 and 2022. In 2006, they took home a bronze medal. The team is yet to claim a gold medal in these games, and in Birmingham, South Africa beat them to win gold.
Team Fiji Chef de Mission Sale Sorovaki at the games said although they didn’t win the gold medal, they’ve shown constant improvement. “They no longer come to these games to make up the numbers. They compete for the titles so we should look for the positives.”
Rugby in Fiji is no stranger to winning titles. They’ve proven they are world-beaters, and every time they come out, they demonstrate their passion. Fiji fans create an electric, colorful atmosphere, one that intimidates opposition and shows the significance of the sport in the Pacific Island nation.
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