The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series came to its conclusion on Sunday, with Fiji crowned champions thanks to their Cup win over New Zealand in Paris, a result which saw them just pip rivals the USA to top spot overall.
The two nations have gone back and forth all season and Fiji held just a two-point advantage over the USA heading into Paris, with a highly-anticipated semi-final match-up between the two, that Fiji won 33-17, deciding the outcome of the whole Series.
The annual award ceremony of the Series was held following the end of the Paris leg and, unsurprisingly, Fiji were one of the big winners from the night.
Meli Derenalagi won the Rookie of the Year award, whilst Vilimoni Botitu, who was also in contention for the Rookie of the Year gong, picked up the DHL Impact Player, with his Series-leading 356 points coming via 124 tackles, 24 breaks, 49 offloads and 159 carries. Both youngsters promise a bright future for Fiji sevens.
Derenalagi and Botitu both also made the HSBC Dream Team, alongside Fijian teammates Jerry Tuwai and Aminiasi Tuimaba.
The other three spots on the team were taken by US stars Folau Niua, Stephen Tomasin and Ben Pinkelman, with the USA also featuring prominently among the awards.
Head coach Mike Friday picked up the Capgemini Coach of the Series award, whilst Danny Barrett was given the UL Mark of Excellence for his athletic display against New Zealand in the Cape Town leg of the Series last year. Speedster wing Carlin Isles finished as the Gilbert Top Try Scorer, having crossed the whitewash 52 times during the Series, something which saw him successfully defend the trophy, having picked it up last season as well.
The other two awards of the night saw France pick up the Fair Play award and Pol Pla and Spain deservedly wrap up the TAG Heuer Don’t Crack Under Pressure award for their outstanding display to beat New Zealand in the Vancouver leg of the Series earlier this year.
Watch: Fiji have turned down an offer from China for sevens coaches
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