Wales will go into the fourth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the NZ International Sevens in Wellington on 3-4 February 2012, knowing big hitting Fiji will be aiming for revenge.
Last weekend Richie Pugh led Wales to a momentous Plate final victory over the joint series leaders at the Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens, to send Fiji packing with their second heaviest defeat in the series’ history.
Wales overturned a Pool defeat on its head when the two sides met up again in the Plate final – there was only one team in it as Pugh led the current World Champions to a stunning 48-0 victory.
“We knew we could beat them,” admitted Pugh just after touching down in Heathrow. “We lost to them in Dubai in the second leg and lost to them in the Pool game in Port Elizabeth, but on both occasions we were leading at half-time.
“This time, we gave them absolutely no chance to show their flair. Owen Williams and Will Price dominated the kick offs and we took every chance that came our way. The victory was brilliant for the boys, particularly as we came through a couple of dark days along the way.
“But we now know Fiji will be gunning for us in Wellington where we have them in the same pool as Argentina and Tonga. But Saturday’s win has given the squad a lot of self belief and we will go into the tournament with no fear.
“To beat the side who were ranked number one in the series when we played them, has given us a lot of confidence. I definitely think there are some exciting times ahead for this team,” he added.
Following their first Cup win of the season in South Africa, the reigning series champions New Zealand lie joint-top in the standings with Gold Coast winners Fiji with 51 points. South Africa (48) and England (47) are closely behind while Wales are in seventh position on 36 points.
“There is a lot of congestion on the points table,” said Pugh. “England, France and Australia have all picked up points off the big boys so that has made things extremely tight. If you had said to us before the series had kicked off that after three rounds we would have won two Plates and made three quarter finals to pick up 36 points, we would have taken that,” he said.
Wales head coach Paul John, concluded: “We are really pleased the squad were able to finish the three weeks off in style by beating Fiji 48-0 in the Plate final which was an excellent win. It was a massive statement and fair play to the squad.
“They have been excellent during the time away and all the hard work that has been done over the preparation period with Proc [Wayne Proctor] had definitely paid dividends.”