Last weekend, London played host to the final leg of the IRB World Rugby Sevens series. And, as Twickenham Stadium became a pressure cooker both figuratively and literally (you should see our sunburn), Fiji secured an emphatic victory in winning both the London Sevens cup and the championship for the entire series.Fiji made it quite clear on Saturday that they were going to have little difficulty widening the gap between themselves and nearest rival England in the series standings, but they still comprehensively defeated all challengers to lift the London cup. Impressive stuff.
However, despite Fiji’s true-to-form performances, last weekend proved that rugby sevens is still a sport that often refuses to follow the script. England, who before the tournament’s final leg were touted as the only team who could knock the champions off their perch, may have started strongly against the weak opposition of Germany and Kenya, but misfired (on all cylinders) when faced with more credible opposition like Australia, finally crashing out of the semi-finals at the hands of Samoa. Could they be missing Tait and Varndell (currently touring down-under with England’s squad for the fifteen-man game)?
Even more surprising was Scotland’s defeat to Portugal, and Australia’s thrashing by both Kenya and (amazingly) Russia! Oddly, the loudest cheers of the entire weekend seemed to accompany Australia’s defeats, and the loudest boos were for their successes. Very unusual behaviour from the crowd – were we really in West London?