By Michael Pavitt

Fiji earned their second title of the HSBC Sevens World Series with victory in Las Vegas ©World RugbyFiji overpowered New Zealand in the final of the HSBC Sevens World Series leg in Las Vegas for their second title of the season, while hosts United States were denied a third place finish in front of their own fans by South Africa.

Having won in the series opener in the Gold Coast last October, Fiji were aiming to close the gap on New Zealand and South Africa at the top of the overall standings and made the perfect start on the third and final day of action in Las Vegas, overcoming the current leaders South Africa 24-19 in a tightly fought semi-final.

It set-up a final with New Zealand, winners of the previous leg in Wellington, after they prevented the US team from reaching only their second ever series final by defeating them 26-12.

But New Zealand proved no match for the Pacific Islanders in the final, as Fiji had raced into a 21-0 half time advantage and, despite a rally in the second half New Zealand, were unable to prevent the Fijians from claiming a 35-19 victory. 

Jerry Tuwani and Semi Kunatani picked up a brace of tries apiece for Fiji, but their captain Osea Kolinisau focused on teamwork as the key to their performance over the weekend stating "we've talked about improving our defence and discipline and today it paid off."

He added: "One of the strengths of this team is that we are in this together and we proved that this weekend."

Meanwhile, defeated semi-finalists South Africa and the US played out a one sided third place playoff, with the Springboks running in five tries on route to a 31-0 victory.

South Africa, the defending Sevens World Series champions, currently lead the way in the overall standings as they have accumulated 93 points, having finished at least fourth in the five legs of the series so far, including victories in Dubai and Port Elizabeth. 

Fiji overcame series leaders South Africa in the semi-finals of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Las Vegas on their way to winning the tournament ©World RugbyFiji overcame series leaders South Africa in the semi-finals of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Las Vegas on their way to winning the tournament ©World Rugby

Their lead, however, has been reduced by the two finalists in Las Vegas, with New Zealand lying second on 88 points and Fiji third on 86 points.

The final top four guaranteed berths at Rio 2016, when rugby sevens makes its Olympic debut, there was a potentially crucial result in the plate final, with the match deciding the fifth placed finisher in Las Vegas, as Australia overcame England to extend their lead in the race for the fourth by an additional point.

The Australians now sit on 71 points to England's 68 with four series events remaining in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Glasgow and London.

The next tournament, in Hong Kong, is due to take place on March 27 and 28. 

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