Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Individual honors for Fiji as New Zealand win fourth straight Seven World Series

May 12, 2014 -- Updated 1726 GMT (0126 HKT)
Samisoni Viriviri became the first Fijian to win player of the series, an award first handed out in 2004. Samisoni Viriviri became the first Fijian to win player of the series, an award first handed out in 2004.
HIDE CAPTION
Just 'Viriviri' Good
Roaring Success
Selfie Smiles
Final Flourish
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fiji's Samisoni Viriviri named Player of the 2013-2014 Series
  • New Zealand win fourth straight championship as season ends in London
  • All Blacks have won 12 of 15 HSBC Sevens World Series

(CNN) -- New Zealand may have retained rugby's Sevens World Series in fine style, but Fiji's Samisoni Viriviri claimed the honor of being named the competition's leading player following the finale in England.

The flying winger was in imperious form throughout the season, as his searing pace and clinical finishing combined to produce 52 tries -- 19 more than his closest rival Tim Mikkelson.

New Zealander Mikkelson, who was player of the year in 2013, had been one of four players in contention this time, along with South Africa captain Kyle Brown and England skipper Tom Mitchell.

"I am very proud to win this award and be the first Fijian to be named Sevens Player of the Year," Viriviri told the HSBC Sevens World Series' official website after Sunday's awards ceremony.

Read: How radio made the rugby star

"He has been the most lethal finisher this season and his all round game has been outstanding," added Fiji coach Ben Ryan.

The rise of rugby sevens in Hong Kong
Dressing up Hong Kong-style
Hong Kong Sevens highlights
Rugby legend's love for Hong Kong
Lomu praises historic rugby coach

"He's scored some incredible tries and defended superbly well - I think I can remember one time in this whole season when somebody went round him."

Despite Viriviri's individual brilliance, Fiji could only finish the season in third place, trailing second-placed South Africa and champions New Zealand.

Securing the title for the fourth year in succession, the All Blacks wrapped up their 12th win in 15 series during the group stages of the season-ending event in London.

They were defeated by host nation England in their final Pool A game at Twickenham but earlier victories over Argentina and Wales took the Kiwis to the knockout stages while simultaneously confirming them as champions.

Gordon Tietjens' side thrashed South Africa in the quarterfinal, won a tight semifinal 12-10 against the Fijians before rallying from 21-0 down against Australia in the final to win 52-33.

The dramatic turnaround ended Australia coach Michael O'Connor's dream of finishing with a title in his last match in charge of a Series event.

"I am going to miss the series. I'll be back though but I probably won't have the seat I have at the moment," O'Connor said afterwards.

"But I will miss the players, the teams we play against, the people, the staff at the International Rugby Board -- it is an amazing tournament and really a world class event."

Unlike his rivals for Player of the Year, Viriviri was also named in the Sevens Dream Team, which featured New Zealand duo D.J. Forbes and Scott Curry, Canada's John Moonlight and Phil Mack, as well as Cameron Clark of Australia and South African Justin Geduld.

Read: New Zealand dominate in Hong Kong

"We have worked so hard as a team to get things right and it has paid off this year," Mack said on the World Series website.

"To be recognized for it is great. It is a special feeling, and as a team we have made huge strides and we will share this with them.

"'Mooner' brings everything, his leadership is awesome, and the team follow behind him. I am super happy."

Next season's series starts in October, with Australia hosting the opening round, prior to its climax in London in May 2015.

With rugby sevens making its Olympic debut in two years' time, extra incentive will be added by the knowledge that the top four-ranked nations will qualify directly for the 2016 Games in Rio.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
May 29, 2014 -- Updated 1643 GMT (0043 HKT)
Samisoni Viriviri is the first Fijian to be crowned Player of the Year by the International Ruby Board. CNN's Andrew Stewart report.
May 29, 2014 -- Updated 1452 GMT (2252 HKT)
England captain Tom Mitchell goes head to head with his Scottish counterpart Colin Gregor.
May 29, 2014 -- Updated 1624 GMT (0024 HKT)
CNN's Christina Macfarlane looks at how the 2014 Commonwealth Games could help generate more interest in the sport.
May 29, 2014 -- Updated 0845 GMT (1645 HKT)
Long-time rugby fans don't need graphs or charts to see that players are getting bigger -- but see how they compare to other athletes.
May 12, 2014 -- Updated 1726 GMT (0126 HKT)
Fiji's Samisoni Viriviri
New Zealand may have retained the Sevens World Series in fine style, but a Fijian claimed the honor of being named top player.
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
aisale Serevi of Fiji in action during their semi final win over New Zealand during the Credit Suisse First Boston Hong Kong Sevens being played at the Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong.
As a young child in Fiji, rugby star Waisale Serevi strained to hear tales of his heroes through the crackles of an old transistor radio.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Two years ago, Kayla McAlister was playing netball. Now she's the world's best rugby sevens player, emulating her All Black sibling Luke.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
By day, he dons a white lab coat and seeks to rid the world of disease. At weekends, he terrorizes opposition teams in his bright red outfit.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1046 GMT (1846 HKT)
Not only is she getting hitched this month, but Winter Olympics star Elana Meyers is hoping to wed her bobsleigh skills to an entirely different ball game.
March 30, 2014 -- Updated 1400 GMT (2200 HKT)
Welcome to Hong Kong, where the battle to create the greatest costume is almost as fierce as the action on the pitch in the HSBC Sevens World Series.
March 27, 2014 -- Updated 2050 GMT (0450 HKT)
The annual sporting jamboree is the highlight of the social calendar for rugby fans who flock to the Hong Kong Stadium in their thousands.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1035 GMT (1835 HKT)
Akira Ioane of New Zealand scores a try under pressure from England's Tom Mitchell during the IRB Sevens World Series cup semi final match in Wellington, New Zealand.
His name means "bright light" in Japanese and he's already shining on the global stage. Meet the young New Zealander being hailed as the next Jonah Lomu.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1626 GMT (0026 HKT)
It's the ultimate sporting world tour -- a combination of pace, power and partying through nine destinations. Discover the sevens circuit here...
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1534 GMT (2334 HKT)
Spawned by university professors and dominated by big corporations, rugby in Japan is certainly different -- but it is also on the rise.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 2311 GMT (0711 HKT)
Many have matched his size, some his speed, but no-one ever combined the two to such devastating effect on a rugby field as Jonah Lomu.
ADVERTISEMENT