South Africa denied Fiji back-to-back titles in Singapore with a dramatic 20-19 victory in the Cup final at the National Stadium.
The Blitzboks, who have only won two of their 30 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Cup titles in Asia, scored 20 unanswered points to complete the most remarkable of comebacks in the Cup final. It was a turnaround that won the UL Mark of Excellence Award.
The Cup final, from the start to the finish, was an exceptional contest and one of the most gripping this world series. Fiji flew in the opening seven minutes, looking unstoppable, as Aminiasi Tuimaba, Napolioni Bolaca and Vilimoni Botitu made their intensity count on the scoreboard.
With a 19-0 cushion it looked as if they would retain the title that they won 12 months ago, something no side has ever been able to do, but South Africa had other ideas.
Youngster Kurt-Lee Arendse commenced their fightback, the HSBC Player of the Final Angelo Davids followed alongside Ryan Oosthuizen one minute later. In the final seconds, South Africa remained two points down before Selvyn Davids connected with a late penalty and they held Fiji out to complete the job.
The result means that South Africa remain in fourth place in the world series standings with 121 points but open up a 14-point cushion over fifth-placed England (107 points). Fiji, now on 142 points, cut the USA’s lead at the top of the standings to just three points with New Zealand sitting in third (130 points).
With the complexion of the world series standings going into the tournament, the USA, Fiji and New Zealand all had the potential to secure qualification for Tokyo 2020. However with the twists and turns of the two days, none were able to achieve the world series points required to do so and the race for early Olympic Games qualification continues.
The next stop on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will be London on 25-26 May before the series reaches its conclusion in Paris, the weekend after.
England equalled their best finished since Sydney by securing a bronze medal with a 28-7 victory over the USA.
Samoa ensured that they finished in fifth position with a 19-17 victory over New Zealand and avenged their hurtful day-one loss to the outfit.
France secured the Challenge Trophy in the most dramatic and impressive of fashions with a 22-19 victory over Scotland.
Kenya 7s meanwhile finished 13th following a 21-5 victory over Spain in the 13th place final.
Shujaa scored their tries through Vincent Onyala, Bush Mwale and Daniel Taabu as they consolidated 13th place with 26 points, one above Wales and four above Japan who occupy the bottom two positions.