Canada won their first-ever World Rugby Sevens Series title when they beat the USA 26-19 in the final of the Singapore Sevens on Sunday.
The victory over their North American rivals was a fitting reward for Canada coach Damian McGrath and his charges after they beat New Zealand in the quarter-finals and England in the semi-finals.
It’s a day Canada will never forget. They have been competing on the World Rugby Sevens Series since 1999 and after 140 tournaments, McGrath’s side finally get their hands on a Cup title.
The Cup Final with the USA was an exhilarating way to round off two glorious days of action at Singapore’s National Stadium.
Nathan Hirayama, who was named Player of the Final, found it difficult to explain his emotions afterwards.
“I am speechless,” he said.
“I am so proud of the boys. Working so hard for a long time.
“It feels good to put it together. Fiji was a wake-up call [in the pool stages in Saturday], it wasn’t good enough, but we just kept on rolling today [Sunday].”
Canada’s captain, John Moonlight, echoed Hirayama’s sentiments.
“It’s hard to put that into words. We took a licking against Fiji yesterday, and from our coach. But we showed up today, we showed the world we can beat anyone. We beat three of the best teams today. We are flying. An unbelievable feeling.”
Canada were fastest out of the blocks and Matt Mullins got over for the opening try after striding away from the miss-tackles before Perry Baker ran out of real estate to haul him down.
It wasn’t long before Canada had their second five-pointer after Moonlight sent the ball inside to Harry Jones and he tore away unchallenged for the line.
The USA were yet to pass the ball when Mike Fuailefau slammed down a third try for the Canucks. The USA did not take that lying down and it wasn’t long before Baker moves to the top of the season’s try scoring charts and by getting the USA right back in it with a crucial five-pointer.
Madison Hughes then found some space and Stephen Tomasin finished in the corner which meant Canada led 19-12 at the break.
The USA soon made it 19-19 after Baker raced through the Canadian defence again but Canada secured victory when Lucas Hammond scored the crucial try inside the final two minutes.
England and Australia squared off in the bronze medal match and England drew first blood when one of their youngsters, 18-year-old Callum Sirker, crossed for the first try.
It wasn’t long before Australia replied – Liam McNamara ran a lovely running line and darted over the line to draw his side level at 7-7.
Australia then took the lead when Henry Hutchison – one of the best finishers in the business this season – received a stunning long pass from John Porch before dotting down.
Student Harry Glover put Simon Amor’s side back in the lead and Australia knocked on at the death in a last-gasp attempt to steal the win in the corner.
Series leaders South Africa faced off with traditional rivals New Zealand in an exciting encounter which was in the balance until the final whistle.
A first five-pointer in the World Sevens Series for Stedman Gans put the Blitzboks in front. He used some magical footwork and a hop, skip and a waltz to just about carry it to the line and, after a quick check with the TMO, Gans was embraced by his team-mates.
New Zealand responded in quickfire fashion as Joe Ravouvou takes it over and Beaudein Waaka judged his conversion kick to perfection.
There was majestic footwork from Sione Molia as he strode through unchallenged on the outside after South Africa are caught napping after a scrum.
The All Blacks Sevens soon extended their lead when Vilimoni Koroi has his first score of the weekend after Sam Dickson suck in two defenders in the build-up. The work rate from both teams was huge but New Zealand managed to hold on for the win.
Challenge Trophy Final
Scotland were fastest out of the blocks with Jamie Farndale going over for the first five-pointer but Wales struck back via a Billy McBryde try.
James Fleming then picked up at the breakdown to send the Scots in front at the break.
The second half’s opening score was a deserved one from Luke Treharne to take Wales to within two points of their opponents.
Scotland were then shunted into touch and Wales had to attack from deep and they did that in style when Luke Morgan roared down the right-hand touchline to give his side the lead.
Immense pressure from Sam Cross forced the Scots to knock on, and the Welsh pounced to seal the win in style.
Russia started brightly when Ilya Babaev went skipping over in the corner. Dmitry Sukhin then exploited a gap to extend his country’s lead.
At the other end, Franco Sabato got Argentina’s opening try after stepping on the gas 30 metres out. Things went pear-shaped for Russia when Vladislav Lazarenko and Ilya Babaev were both sent to the sin-bin, and German Schulz’s converted try made it 12-12 at the interval.
A brace from Schulz shifted the momentum in favour of Argentina, and those two yellow cards cost Russia dearly.
Los Pumas took further advantage of their numerical advantage and Gaston Revol soon got over the try-line.
Argentina made it look straightforward in the end as Lucas Belloto cruised over for their sixth try which sealed their win.
Day Two Results
USA 19-26 Canada
Australia 12-14 England
Canada 17-5 England
USA 40-7 Australia
South Africa 12-17 New Zealand
New Zealand 24-21 Kenya
Fiji 14-19 South Africa
Fiji 19-24 USA
Australia 19-17 South Africa
New Zealand 14-26 Canada
England 13-12 Kenya
Scotland 12-24 Wales
Wales 19-14 Samoa
Scotland 31-12 France
Hong Kong 15-26 Scotland
Argentina 24-26 France
Wales 19-12 Russia
Japan 14-26 Samoa
Argentina 40-19 Russia
Russia 24-21 Japan
Hong Kong 7-33 Argentina