Singapore - Canada beat the United States 26-19 to win their maiden World Series
Sevens title on Sunday and cap a day of extraordinary upsets that
culminated in the first ever all-American final.
regained their composure after squandering a 19-0 lead as their North
American neighbours levelled the final at 19-19 to score the winning try
through Lucas Hammond less than two minutes from the end, denying the
US their second tournament success after winning at London in 2015.
"We made a couple of mistakes but the character of the team came through," Canadian coach Damian McGrath told AFP.
is huge for Canadian rugby. We've lost $1 million in funding, our 15s
results have been poor, so this just gives us a shot in the arm. It's a
big deal for us."
For the US, it was a bittersweet moment. The
Eagles made the final after losing in the semis at each of the last
three World Series tournaments but coach Mike Friday told AFP the
Americans lost the final because they gave Canada too big a start.
long and short of it is this, you can't gift anyone 19 points and
expect to win a cup final," Friday said. "They were always going to get
another chance and even though we got back to 19-all, the game was
really lost by us in that first five minutes."
Canada had never
won a World Series title before and earned their way into the final the
hard way, beating traditional powerhouses New Zealand 26-14 in the
quarter-finals then England 17-5 in the semis.
The US also upset
rugby's established giants by beating Olympic champions Fiji 24-19 in
the quarters then Australia 40-7 in the semis but their slow start cost
Canada scored three
tries inside the first five minutes through Matt Mullins, Harry Jones
and Mike Fuailefau but a lapse in concentration let the US back in.
Baker, the leading tryscorer for the series, scored a brilliant solo
try to ignite the US comeback and then Stephen Tomasin dived over in the
corner to cut the margin to 19-12 at halftime.
"We had more chances but we needed to execute and we just didn't do it."
scored again shortly after the re-start to tie the scores as the US
seized the momentum but Canada re-settled and got the winner through
Hammond to seal the victory.
"It's awesome," Hammond told AFP. "It's pretty emotional for all of us because it's been a long time coming.
"It shows how far the sport has come, not just in Canada but also the States and it's only going to get better from here."
Africa extended their lead in the championship standings to 25 points
with two rounds to go despite finishing sixth, the first time this
season they have not made the final.
"We were very fortunate to extend our lead," South Africa coach Neil Powell told AFP.
you had said to me coming into Singapore that we'd extend our lead by
another two points we'd have gladly taken it but we're not happy with
our performances. We made a lot of mistakes and we were own worst
Results from the knockout stages on Sunday of the Singapore Sevens, the eighth leg of the World Rugby Sevens series:
USA 24 Fiji 19
Australia 19 South Africa 17
Canada 26 New Zealand 14
England 13 Kenya 12
USA 40 Australia 7
Canada 17 England 5
Canada 26 USA 19