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Rugby | Sevens

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Canada win maiden World Sevens title

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.

The Canadians 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. 

“This 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.”

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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.

“The 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 quarterfinals 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 them dearly.


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.

Perry 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.”

Baker 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.”

South 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.

“If 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 enemies.”


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