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Rugby | Sevens

Jasa Veremalua © Gallo Images

Fiji play down Tokyo Sevens hopes



Fiji have tempered hopes they can cut the gap on runaway series leaders New Zealand at this weekend's Tokyo Sevens, despite last week's magical victory in Hong Kong.

The free-running Pacific Islanders put on a Sevens masterclass when they came back from 19-0 down at halftime to beat Wales 26-19 at a packed Hong Kong Stadium on Sunday.

But coach Alifereti Dere highlighted the difficulty of winning consecutive events on the Sevens World Series, which is increasingly competitive in the build-up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

"It is true it is hard to win two in a row," he said, according to the tournament website.

"It happened to us last year when we won in Hong Kong and then came here and went into the Plate. We will see what we can do to improve our performance from then, it is about adjusting well."

New Zealand have a 25-point lead over Fiji at the top of the standings and they can all but seal their third straight world title, and 11th overall, with victory this weekend.

But despite the big lead, experienced captain D.J. Forbes said he was taking nothing for granted. Scotland and England, both in May, are the last two legs of the current season.

"This is probably the biggest lead we have had but there are still three tournaments to go," said Forbes.

"Although I would love to say it is ours you never know what might happen and we never take anything for granted. We need to do well here to eliminate any chance of countries taking it away from us."

Defending champions Australia are drawn with last year's finalists Samoa in Pool D, along with England and Argentina.

A year ago, Samoa were 26-21 ahead with four minutes left in the final before Australia snatched it with a converted Ed Jenkins try.

"Tokyo last year was really good for us. A lot of hard work, but we have done that this year and we are looking for another win," said Australian captain Jesse Parahi.

"It is such a buzz in Tokyo, it's a wonderful place, and obviously for us there is the added bonus of us winning it last year which just makes the guys even more pumped to be here," he added.

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