Blitzboks toppled as England take Canada title

by Jill Scanlon

England has won the Canada Sevens in Vancouver, defeating South Africa 19-7.

England is the only side to have bettered South Africa in a final, previously defeating the series leaders in their home tournament in Cape Town.

For Australia, a convincing 21-0 defeat in the fifth place semi-final at the hands of trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, saw its tournament come to a close.

Earlier in the day, the Aussies were defeated by Fiji in the cup quarter-final, being subjected to a masterclass of Sevens rugby which resulted in a 28-10 loss.  

Australia takes 10 points for their finish in Vancouver, moving down one spot to sixth position in the world series standings.

Coach Andy Friend expressed disappointment at the result given the performances of the last two tournaments.

“We created opportunities but in those key moments of execution we weren’t able to finish it off,” he said.     

“After a good showing in Sydney and a better showing in Vegas, I was hoping we’d go better this weekend, so it is disappointing.”   

Friend has laid out the objective of finishing every tournament in the top eight.

While winning as many games as possible is always the goal, there is an argument that Australia’s emerging consistency in the lower placings of the top eight is fitting as a team rebuilding.


The final day capped off another successful event for the organisers in Vancouver with a sellout crowd across the weekend.

For local fans, the day really began when Canada ran out to play its cup quarter-final.

It was always going to be a big task facing South Africa and the 36-7 result was a testament to the clinical expertise of the Blitzboks rather than a blemish on the hosts' performance.

An epic battle followed for Canada in the fifth place semi-final against Argentina, in front of a packed and vocal stadium. Argentina took the win 12-5 and Canada thanked its loyal fans.

New Zealand went on to secure fifth place, defeating Argentina 17-14, after losing to eventual champions England in its quarter-final.

The cup semi-finals were both dramatic encounters but for very different reasons, thrilling the crowd until the final siren.

The clash between South Africa and the USA was always going to be physical, but the absence of Danny Barrett from the USA team due to a three-game suspension tempered that to some extent.

The Americans challenged the Blitzboks throughout the game and the 14-10 final result reflected the tight contest.

Werner Kok was hailed as the hero, saving a certain USA try in the dying seconds as Andrew Durutalo drove over the line but was prevented from grounding the ball.

The second semi-final between England and Fiji was the exact opposite of the first, with fans stunned by an early English domination, that had them 19-0 up at the break.

The final result was even more impressive with England scoring its most points ever against Fiji on the World Series with a 40-7 victory.

England coach Simon Amor was pleased with their victory.

“We put in a really good performance there against an exceptional Fiji team,” he said.

“You’ve got to control possession and we did that very well. I’m incredibly proud of the boys.”


Trophy final 

Samoa 12 def. by Wales 19

Wales were considered very unlucky to not qualify in the top eight group after its two wins on Day One.

Wales took the Trophy Final 19-14, finishing with an impressive record of five wins and just the one loss across the weekend.

Bronze Medal

USA 24 def. by Fiji 28

Fiji defeated the USA 28-24 but was pushed all the way in a game which saw play roll from end to end as a steady flow of tries was the highlight with each team scoring four.

Cup Final

South Africa 7 def. by England 19

The cup final was an epic battle, with England playing an almost faultless game, standing up to some immense South African tackle pressure.

The game began at a frantic pace and continued in that vein to the final siren.

Dan Norton was named player of the final having scored the last of England’s three tries, placing him equal-first, with 244, on the all-time try scorers list with Kenya veteran Collins Injera.

All teams will now rest and recover over the coming three weeks in preparation for the feature event of the series in Hong Kong - known as the jewel in the crown for World Rugby Sevens.