What a round of finals and could we be more wrong as the new look Fiji squad with seven new boys took the All Blacks Seven apart with power, pace and a blitz defence that never let Cama the New Zealand play maker settle and get anything going. It took three minutes and then the tries started for the Fijians, the Blacks did take the lead on three and a half minutes but that was as good as it got as Fiji went into the break 17-7 ahead and kicked on to the final score and the Cup 32-14. With a new look outfit and retaining the trophy can they kick on to be top of the table at the end of the year? We think they can although the Blacks will get better.
The third place play-off game saw South Africa with toi much of everything against a tiring Kenya go in 21-0 at half-time and kick on to 41-7 with Kenya getting a consolation try having made to many mistakes to ever get into the contest. They will however improve.
The plate and Argentina were pushed all the way by the French who seem a lot more organised this term. two first half tries by Argentina were enough to see them home as France scored a key early try in the second half but could not make further pressure pay so Argentina took the plate 14-7.
The Bowl and even given the fact they only had one substitute England should still have had enough to cope with Spain but as they say oh no they didn’t. The match opened with four minutes of errors before Spain found a hole and went over for a converted try. England managed to get one themselves so they went into the break tied at 7-7. England had a good start to the second half going 14-7 up, but did not kick on and back came Spain 14-14 and that was how it was at full time. Golden point time and extra time and Spain as they had all game pressed eventually finding the gap and taking their first well deserved trophy.
Scotland totally outplayed the USA in a one sided Shield final winning 40-5 from 26-0 at the break. The game was done and dusted with just twenty-one second on the clock when the USA got their consolation try.
What have we learned from the first round of games? It will be a competitive season, underestimate the strength in depth of Fiji at your peril. England continue to run hot and cold and flatter to decive. Kenya when they get to full potential will be competing at the top table. South Africa look good but run out of steam. Never underestimate the new boys as Canada and Spain showed.
Next up in five weeks over the weekend of 30 Nov/1 Dec we will be in Dubai for Round Two.
All Times Local
41 14 Oct 17:02 Scotland 40-5 United States Final Shield
42 14 Oct 17:32 England 14-19 Spain Final Bowl
43 14 Oct 18:02 France 7-14 Argentina Final Plate
44 14 Oct 18:32 South Africa 41-7 Kenya Third Place
45 14 Oct 19:04 Fiji 32-14 New Zealand Final Cup