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Wests Tigers , A Class Act
Wests Tigers beat the odds to claim their first World Sevens rugby league title with an emphatic 18-7 final win over defending champions Parramatta at Aussie Stadium. The rank outsiders only just made the finals thanks to a 43-14 win over Souths in their final pool game this morning but led all the way to claim the $100,000 winner's cheque. Tigers new signing, Scott Sattler - Penrith's grand final hero - was voted player of the tournament. The Eels, vying for a threepeat straight World Sevens titles, were favourites even though they only scraped into the finals when they beat Penrith in a repechage round held for the two best performed teams who didn't win their pool. The Tigers led 11-0 at halftime in the final after Shane Elford scored and ex-Eel Pat Richards picked up a class Ben Reynolds offload to score under the posts. In the second half, the Eels got on the scoreboard through Luke Burt but the Tigers answered immediately through a Daniel Fitzhenry try. In the semi-finals, Richards scored in the final 30 seconds off a Fitzhenry grubber to hand the Tigers a 19-18 win over the undefeated St George Illawarra. Richards' former team - Parramatta - cruised into the final after it blitzed Manly 21-10. In the quarter-finals, the Eels were kept honest before downing surprise packets PNG 31-15 while Manly held out a determined Tonga 21-14. Earlier, the Tigers put the brakes on Cronulla's unbeaten run with an 18-10 victory to book a semi-final showdown with the Dragons, who put out North Queensland 18-10. France beat Fiji 26-18 in the International Cup final. Big movers of the 2004 World Sevens included the quarter-finalists PNG and Tonga. Tonga gave Manly a stir up in their 21-14 loss before thanking the appreciative crowd with a lap of honour and a "war dance" while PNG made the Eels sweat before going down 31-15. Up till the quarter-final stage, PNG's Ricky Sibia was the highest point scorer in the tournament with 37 from two four-point tries, three-five pointers and seven conversions. New concepts introduced this year included five points for a try scored between the posts and a four-tackle rule. Bookies favourites the New Zealand Warriors,were very dissapointing and crashed out of finals calculations with a 19-10 loss to Manly in their final pool match today. Armed with the likes of Ali Lauiti'iti, Clinton Toopi and ex-Melbourne gamebreaker Tony Martin, NZ was the pre-tournament favourites with the Eels but limped out with a 1-2 record. But the real anti-climax was the sole England representative, 1989 World Club champions Widnes, which limped out with a 0-3 record - including a loss to qualifier NSW Country.