Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Classy Drifters win Hottest 7's - 22jan07

WAISALE Serevi showed just why he is the sevens master, producing a virtuoso display to guide a six-man South Sea Drifters to an epic 26-19 Heineken Hottest 7's in the World Final victory over Aussie Spirit last night.In a sensational finish to an exceptional two-day tournament, Serevi and partner in crime Lepani Nabuliwaqa were outstanding as the Fijians held off a last-ditch Spirit bid to win the $14,000 first prize.

The final started in the most-sensational fashion when Semisi Muakalou was sent off in the opening minute for a spear tackle.

And when Ryan Strelow crossed to give the Spirit an early lead shortly after, you could have thought the Drifters chances were dashed.

But liked caged lions, they responded and three quick tries including the try of the match from Nabuliwaqa led the red-hot Drifters to a 19-5 halftime lead.

Spirit coach Glen Ella rang the changes at the break, but a Serevi extended the score to 26-5 before the Spirit stormed back with tries to Tim Cornforth and Nick Cummins.

Though it proved to be a case of too little too late as the Drifters hung on for a famous victory.

As the large Austar Rugby Park crowd swarmed like bees around him Serevi expressed his delight in winning the title.

``We are very happy,'' Serevi said.

``I am very proud of all of the players for their efforts, they played very well it was an excellent finish to our time in Darwin.''

Serevi may be regarded as the sevens king, but there is no doubt he has found an heir to his throne in 26-year-old Nabuliwaqa.

Opponents all week have been left clutching air as he shimmied his way to an array of tries and he didn't disappoint in the final.

Nursing a sore stomach after a heavy hit from a Spirit rival, the humble halfback paid tribute to Serevi and his team-mates for keeping cool when the heat was on.

``To win the title is a very nice feeling,'' Nabuliwaqa said.

``Even though we only had six players we didn't panic, we know that we can play well and of course we thank the Lord for what he has given us today.''

Nabuliwaqa added the team would celebrate in traditional fashion.

``Yes we will all sit around together and have some kava, it is great to celebrate with all the boys when you win.''

The match was the best of the four finals played throughout the divisions.

SA claimed the Buff Final after an easy 29-5 win over Ronin Impact.

Skipper Andrew Farquharson was outstanding for the Croweaters.

A mercurial display from Jamie Blajewski helped the NT Invitational side to a 15-0 Jabiru (women's) final victory over SA, while fellow locals Brahmans took home the Barra Final after a 31-0 belting of Coates Pioneers.

PNG Barbarians playmaker David Eri was named player of the tournament, while the Darwin Dingoes were the best performed of the Territory teams.

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