Vancouver 7s: England beat BlitzBoks again
Vancouver 7s: England beat BlitzBoks againSHARE
England, the only team have beaten the BlitzBoks this time, overcame a strong start by the South African and claim their second title of the season – to go with their win in Cape Town.
However, the BlitzBoks (126 points) still have a handy 23-point lead over England (103), with Fiji (100), New Zealand (84) and the United States (67) all losing more ground on South Africa.
With only four round remaining, ERngland is the only side with a realistic chance of catching South Africa.
It was a wonderful, colourful Cup Final, won deservedly by a composed England outfit.
There was blood, sweat and maybe even tears.
"It feels awesome because we have worked so hard," Tom Mitchell, England's winning captain, said.
"And to beat South Africa, a team that have been on top all season, to beat them here in front of this crowd is phenomenal.
"I am so proud to be part of this group.
"Every time the boys keep coming back and fighting.
"The way we scrapped this time, we enjoyed the wider spaces, but we kept fighting which is what makes me so proud."
Cup Final – South Africa 7-10 England
Some outstanding play from South Africa at the start the Final. There was a mismatch between Cecil Afrika and Charlie Hayter, which allowed Siviwe Soyizwapi to clean up and land his fourth try of the weekend with less than a minute on the clock.
There was a frantic and frenetic pace to this bewitching Cup Final. South Africa were holding their line brilliantly with more outstanding defensive work, and that's resulted in England turning the ball over four times. The BlitzBoks were cool under pressure and didn't panic.
However, England eventually cracked the green wall. Richard de Carpentier got England right back in it with South Africa exposed on the edge.
There was no way de Carpentier was going to sidestep the challenge of Rosco Speckman – instead he practically ran over him, and Tom Mitchell nailed the conversion to leave it level at the break.
That meant it was a seven-minute shootout for gold.
There was great awareness by Dan Bibby after smart play by Charlie Hayter. With the BlitzBoks exposed on the outside again, Dan Norton played it to Bibby to go over for his fourth of the weekend. Tom Mitchell converted before Norton went to try number 244 in the corner to draw level with Collins Injera's all-time record.
South Africa, in a desperate bid to get back into the game then lost Speckman as he pulled a muscle on his way to the tryline.
England claimed their second Cup Final, the second time they beat South Africa in a Final this season.
Bronze medal play-off – United States 24-28 Fiji
There were not even 30 seconds on the clock and Fiji were on the board. A sixth game of the tournament for these two, and at this stage of the weekend you don't want to find yourself in a footrace with Waisea Nacuqu, who collected his own chip after storming past Folau Niua and dots down.
But speed merchant Perry Baker, now an absolute star of the Sevens Series, hit back with his 99th career try.
It is 100 tries and counting for Perry Baker! A century of glorious tries is sealed for the United States man with a score made by Martin Iosefo. As soon as Baker got the ball you knew what was coming. Nobody was going to stop him and it was a truly unbelievable finish.
Fiji then took control as Vatemo Ravouvou brought up his 49th Sevens Series try. Wonderful support play from Ravouvou and he then he converted his own try. The US Eagles were not done yet, because replacement Maka Unufe hit back.
However, Setareki Bituniyata left Mike Friday's men with a mountain to climb.
Maka Unufe had the gas to go the distance and dot down with the clock approaching zero. The Americans ignored the conversion and won the restart. It was flung inside, but it went to a Fijian hand and Vatemo Ravouvou ended it.
Fifth place play-off – Argentina 17-14 New Zealand
The All Blacks Sevens landed the first try as Beaudein Waaka ran a great line to stay in support of Isaac Te Tamaki.
It was hard going for Argentina in the first four minutes, and it didn't get any easier after Renzo Barbier was sent to the bin.
With the numerical advantage, Isaac Te Tamaki beat Argentina on the outside after briefly hesitating and Scott Waldrom's men were 12 points to the good at the break.
As they did all weekend, Argentina refused to give in and Bautista Delguy reduced the deficit to five points with three minutes on the clock.
The second score for Los Pumas Sevens is all about Matias Osadczuk, who rolled over after initially creating the space for the try.
With the clock at zero Argentina had no sweeper in place. Then 18-year-old replacement Vilimoni Koroi made a match-wining contribution. He chipped into space and raced onto it to. He wins it at the death for New Zealand!
Challenge Trophy Final – Samoa 12-19 Wales
Tila Mealoi is a crucial part of this Samoan side and he put them ahead inside the first minute of the Challenge Trophy Final.
Savelio Ropati strolled in for Samoa's second, but it was Lester Sefo who did brilliantly to snatch the ball away.
Wonderful dexterity from the Welsh wizards as Adam Thomas displayed his acrobatic skills to draw Wales level on the brink of the break. Luke Morgan is held up just shy of the line by some brave defending by Joe Perez with the clock in the red, which meant the teams were deadlocked at the break.
It was a seven-minute shootout. Laaloi Leilua showed his cracking footballing skills by controlling the ball three times before getting it down and injuring himself in the process.
A good tackle dislodged the ball from Samoan hands with three minutes on the clock and Adam Thomas, the most experienced man in a Wales shirt, bumped his way over the line. Luke Treharne's kick was a wobbly one, but it is over and Wales had a two-point lead.
The long arm of Cory Allen reeled in possession and won the interception, which completed the job in the Challenge Trophy Final for Wales.
Wales's captain Sam Cross said that to show his side could compete in the Cup they needed to win the Challenge Trophy, and that is exactly what they did. As with Canada last year, Wales lost just once all weekend and won the second-tier competition.
"The challenge was to get up today [Sunday], and it shows the character of the boys and how tight the group is," Adam Thomas said.
"In all honesty, it's a mental atmosphere here. The crowd have been awesome and it's a great tournament."
Thirteenth-place play-off – Scotland 24-19 Japan (sudden-death extra time – teams were level 19-all at regulation full-time)
At this stage of the tournament, it's important to exploit tired legs whenever you get the opportunity. Japan still look fresh and Masahiro Nakano had the fancy footwork to skip between two defenders and run for the line. But Scotland drew level and it's 101 and counting for James Fleming – until Patrick Stehlin jumps through three tackles to regain the lead for his country.
The problem for Scotland in that first half was that they made six tackles and missed four of them. The men in blue started the second half in lively fashion, though, and 20-year-old Ally Miller, who's had a good weekend, landed his fourth in Vancouver after Hugh Blake popped one off the ground. Down the other end, away goes captain Dai Ozawa. He stepped up at the critical moment and restored his country's lead again.
Bobby Beattie showed a clean pair of heels to race down the wing and draw things level – leaving the score tied at regulation full-time and it went to extra-time.
Lovely offload from Fraser Lyle and Bobby Beattie scored the try that will seal 13th place for Scotland in Vancouver.