Samoa claim IRB Sevens Series crown
May 30, 2010
Samoa celebrate winning the Edinburgh 7s title at Murrayfield © Getty Images
Samoa produced a ruthless performance to overcome Australia and claim not only the Edinburgh 7s title but also the IRB Sevens Series crown.
Assured of this season's overall title following an epic extra time victory over England in the semi-finals, Samoa fell behind to a try from Australia's Jacob Taylor just 15 seconds into the Cup Final but they bounced back with tries from Mikaele Pesamino, Reupena Levasa and Uale Mai to take a 17-7 half-time lead.
Outstanding Australia captain James Stannard pulled one back after the break but again it was Pesamino who restored the lead. Fautua Otto grabbed a quickfire brace to put the match and the Edinburgh title beyond doubt and then Pesamino rounded off a season of extraordinary personal achievement by sealing his hat trick and the 41-14 win, to take his own tally for the season to 56.
Earlier, Samoa beat England 15-12 with a drop goal penalty by their captain Lolo Lui in the last seconds of extra time to win a heart-stopping semi-final match and land the IRB Sevens World Series title.
In one of the finest matches in living memory, Afa Aiono put the Samoans ahead but Tom Powell levelled up after the break. Mikaele Pesamino looked to have given the Samoans the win and the Series but Greg Barden scored to level it up. Ben Gollings missed the conversion and the game went into extra time. As the tension mounted Lolo Lui missed with a long range drop goal and England withstood concerted Samoan pressure. Not until the last second of extra time did Samoa work a position where Lolo Lui was able to opt for a penalty drop goal, which he cooly slotted to land Samoa their first ever World Series crown.
Australia then responded to the electric atmosphere by coming through in another superb match against trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, 24-19.
Earlier, Samoa put in a much better performance to beat South Africa 19-0 and put themselves one win away from a first World Series title. Nick Royle broke Scottish hearts by helping England come from behind to beat the hosts. In the other side of the draw Stannard was again at his best as Australia came from behind to beat Fiji. New Zealand were then hugely impressive in seeing off spirited Argentina 26-0.
Scotland thrilled the home Murrayfield crowd by following up their strong day one performance with victory in the Plate against Argentina, 19-0. Having lost against England in the Cup quarters, the hosts recovered brilliantly and fired the crowd with their slick passing game, first overcoming outgoing World Series champions South Africa and then Argentina in a fine final with tries by Andrew Turnbull, Colin Shaw and Ben Cairns. A fitting end to coach Stephen Gemmell's World Series career.
Wales beat first Canada and then France to reach the final of the Bowl, where they had to come from behind to beat Kenya 26-10. Twice Kenya took the lead through captain Humphrey Kayange but the Welsh responded with tries from Lloyd Williams before the break and then Craig Hill, Rhys Webb and Rhys Jones in the second half to power to victory.
Two tries by Igor Galinovskiy and one apiece for Vladimir Ostroushko and Roman Timofeev wre enough to fire Russia to a fine win 26-7 against Canada in the final of the Shield. After an opening loss on day two, Russia had earlier won through to the final with a dominant display against Portugal.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action