Monday, 17 April 2017
It took them 140 appearances on the HSBC World Rugby 7s Series since 1999 but finally, Canada can enjoy the sweet taste of a Cup final victory.
On a weekend of upsets and shock defeats, coach Damian McGrath‘s Canada 7s team beat the United States 26 – 19 to win the 2017 HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s.
It took a fantastic run at Singapore’s National Stadium that saw the Maple Leafs beat 12-time Series champion New Zealand 26 – 14 in the quarterfinals and Rio Olympics silver-medallist England 17 – 5 in the semi-finals.
The Singapore 7s final at the National Stadium saw Canada racing to a 19 – 0 lead in the first half after tries from Matt Mullins, Harry Jones and Mike Fuailefau with HSBC Player of the Final Nathan Hirayama converting two of three attempts. Before halftime, the Americans burst into life through a try from Stephen Tomasin and a converted try by Perry Baker to close the gap to 12 – 19.
The second half began with American speedster Baker scoring his 41st try of the season as the United States drew level with Canada 19 – 19. In the closing stages, Lucas Hammond cut through the American defense to clinch the winning try for Canada, which Hirayama converted.
Canada began their Singapore campaign with easy wins over Russia (28 – 15) and Hong Kong (34 – 0) in Saturday’s pool matches but was beaten also 7 – 35 by defending Series champion Fiji. The defeat to Fiji on Saturday evening sparked off an amazing run from the Canadians on Sunday.
“It’s hard to put that into words,” said Canadian captain John Moonlight captain. “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.”
Added Nathan Hirayama, HSBC Player of the Final: “I am speechless. I am so proud of the boys. They have been working so hard for a long time. Feels good to put it all together. Fiji was a wake-up call, it wasn’t good enough, but we just kept on rolling today.”
Meantime, England claimed the bronze with a 14-12 victory over Australia while Wales win the Challenge Trophy Final with 24-12 win over Scotland. New Zealand took the fifth spot with a hard-fought 17-12 win against South Africa who remained top of the HSBC World Rugby 7s Series standings.