Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
South Africa overcame Fiji 24-14 to win the USA Sevens in Las Vegas and take their first Cup title on the World Series since April 2009.
The South Africans won a superb opening victory on day two against joint Series leaders England in the Cup semi finals at the Sam Boyd Stadium and then proved too strong for Fiji in a pulsating final.
“It’s awesome to know that you put in so much work in practice and then for the guys to have the ultimate belief that when they go out on the field and stick to the things we’ve done that they can actually win tournaments,” said victorious coach, Paul Treu.
With Cecil Afrika back from injury and at his inspirational best, the Springbok Seven were 19-0 to the good inside five minutes after tries by Afrika, Chris Dry and Branco du Preez.
Watisoni Votu hit back for Fiji before the break and Matieli Nacagilevu’s try made it 19-14 in the second half, but Bernardo Botha’s score made the victory safe for Paul Treu’s men.
As a result of their win in Las Vegas, South Africa claim 24 points towards the HSBC Sevens World Series. They remain in fifth place on 56 but close the gap on leaders England and New Zealand (80) as well as Samoa and Fiji (64).
Captain Kyle Brown rushed from live broadcast interviews with NBC to lift the Cup trophy, South Africa’s first since Adelaide 2009, the season they clinched the World Series.
“Unbelievable, I can’t stop smiling,” he said. “It’s been a lot of hard work. We’ve worked hard on the basics and we’ve pulled through. It sticks us back in the hunt but we’ll concentrate on the next tournament.”
“The boys played like a family, stuck together when times were tough and in defence the attitude has really changed, we all worked for each other,” added an emotional Brown.
Defending USA Sevens and World Series champions Samoa beat Kenya to win the Plate, Scotland won their second Bowl of the season against Canada and hosts USA took home silverware beating Japan 19-12 in the final.
Defending champs win Bowl
Samoa could not defend their Cup title at the USA Sevens but took home the Plate after a 26-15 victory against Kenya.
Fautua Otto (2), Alatasi Tupou and Afa Aiono helped Stephen Betham’s side record the win, with Humphrey Kayange, Sidney Ashioya and Collins Injera all adding to an enthralling final in front of a partisan crowd.
The African side dramatically came from 7-0, 14-12 and 21-17 behind to clinch their place in the final after a 24-21 victory over Micheal O’Connor’s Australa in the first semi final.
Australia captain Bernard Foley scored twice and John Grant added his 15th try of the season but they could not prevent Injera scoring for his eighth and ninth tries of the 2011 USA Sevens, the latter coming after the buzzer had sounded to the delight of the partisan crowd.
Defending World Series champions Samoa reached the Plate final after a 26-14 victory over Argentina. Diego Palma had given Los Pumas 7-0 lead but tries from Otto (2), Uale Mai and Aiono ensured they reached the final.
Scotland win second Bowl
Two tries from Ross Samson and one from captain Scott Riddell gave Scotland their second Bowl title of the season despite two tries from Canada captain Nathan Hirayama in a 19-14 victory.
The victory gives them four Seires points and they reached the final after a dramatic 17-12 victory against rivals Wales in the semis. Struan Dewar crossed after the buzzer had sounded to clinch their place in their second Bowl final this season – their first was at the 2010 South Africa Sevens in George.
Canada were the first side through to the Bowl final after beating France 22-14. Chauncey O’Toole, Justin Mensah-Coker, Ciaran Hearn and Conor Trainor ensured their passage to the final, but were unable to defeat Graham Shiel’s side in the final.
Silverware for hosts after Shield victory
USA won the Shield final after beating Japan 19-12. Zach Test scored twice and captain Matt Hawkins once as the hosts gave the home crowd at the Sam Boyd Stadium something to cheer.
Earlier they scored five tries during their 27-7 victory against Uruguay. Colin Hawley (2), Marco Barnard, Paul Emerick and Miles Craigwell all crossed for Al Caravelli’s side.
Japan had reached the final after beating Guyana 24-7 thanks to two tries from Lepuha Latulla.