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Fiji take New Zealand Sevens crown

The winners walked away from Hamilton with back-to-back titles in both New Zealand and the world circuit.

Fiji defended their crown with a win against New Zealand in Hamilton. Picture: @WorldRugby7s/Twitter.

WELLINGTON - Fiji whipped the United States 38-0 in a six-try rout Sunday to take the New Zealand Sevens crown and draw level at the top of the world series rankings.

The winners walked away from Hamilton with back-to-back titles in both New Zealand and the world circuit, once again depriving the US of a tournament win despite making the finals of all three dates in the 2018-19 series so far.

Fiji were never seriously challenged from the time Jerry Tuwai opened the scoring from a lineout steal in the second minute.

Waisea Nacuqu and Aminiasi Tuimaba also scored in the first half for the defending New Zealand champions to lead 17-0 at the turn.

Alosio Naduva notched two tries in the second half and Tuwai bagged his second while the US were left scoreless.

Fiji came through Sunday’s knockout matches with a 31-7 win over Canada in the quarterfinals before beating South Africa 29-7 in the semis.

The US team, which is shaping up as an emerging power in Sevens rugby, had a 19-14 win over Scotland in the quarters.

They then came from behind to beat hosts New Zealand 17-7 on the back of a one-man advantage after Regan Ware was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle.

Fiji and the US now lead the overall standings with 57 points - one ahead of hosts New Zealand, who beat South Africa 29-7 in the bronze medal match.

Sunday’s runners-up lost to New Zealand in the season opener final in Dubai and went down to Fiji 29-15 in Cape Town.

England started the weekend from fourth in the series standings but failed to qualify for the playoffs.

They later recovered to beat Kenya 36-7 in the Challenger Trophy final to be fifth overall in the series, six points behind fourth-placed South Africa.