Rugby 7’s: Samoa clinch The Edinburgh Sevens

Samoa won the Edinburgh Sevens and, with it, the IRB Series Championship.

A convincing 36-14 victory over London Sevens champions Australia was just the icing on the cake for a successful weekend and, indeed, year for the Samoans.

When on form they were too much to handle for any outfit out there, but still had to rely on a dramatic penalty deep into extra-time against England in the semi-finals to book their place in the showpiece event.

And the victorious coach Stephen Betham believes the achievement will be massive to the people in Samoa.

He said:

“The people back home will be celebrating until we get home. For a small nation like ourselves, it lifts everyone.

We had a long chat after the defeat against Argentina yesterday, but today was a new day. It was do or die and every game was a final.”

In the Plate, Scotland sent the fans home happy with a victory in the tournament. It was a justified victory, especially as they only lost once in the whole weekend.

In the two lesser events, Wales triumphed in the Bowl after some brilliant displays this weekend, which concluded with a win over Kenya.

Russia took the Shield, and they will be relatively happy with what they achieved today.

Here is a run down on what happened on day two of the Edinburgh Sevens:

Cup Final:

Samoa 41-14 Australia

Australia started the brighter, as Samoa appeared to be sluggish after the long match against England. And Jacob Taylor gave the Aussies the perfect start, but Samoa soon got their act together and, in fact, the loss of the first try seemed to galvanise them.

They soon started to dominate and tries from Reupena Levasa, Uale Mai and Pesamino gave the Samoans a 17-7 lead at half time.

James Stannard, however, reduced the lead straight from the restart to only three points.

But two tries from both Pesamino and Fautua Otto helped set a fitting double celebration – The IRB Series and Edinburgh sevens champions

Cup Semi-Finals:

Samoa 15–12 England

First up in the Cup semi finals was Samoa against England. In what was an epic battle between the two, Samoa secured a place in the final and, with it, the Series title.

After some initial early pressure, Samoa took a deserved half-time lead through Afa Aiono. England, in truth, struggled to get out of their half. The power and skills of the Samoan side was clearly too much for them to handle.

England were far more aggressive after the interval and were rewarded with their efforts with a try from Tom Powell – which levelled the scores with less than three minutes to play.

But it did not last long. Pesamino’s long run brought about another five points for Samoa.

But late drama was to unfold when England scored a late try, but amazingly the conversion hit the post to bring the match into extra-time.

And they were left to rue that kick, as Samoa, who had the advantage of an extra man on more than one occasion, won the match through a drop goal which, in turn, won them the World Series.

Australia 24–19 New Zealand

In the other semi, The All Blacks, aware they couldn’t win the series after the Samoan result, started brightly, and a tremendous solo effort from Save Tokula brought about the first try of the match.

But Australia soon levelled through Karauria Henry, and Jenkins put them in front before the break.

The Kiwi’s responded through Tim Mikkelson and the conversion was added to give them a crucial two point lead.

But it was the Aussies who made the final after two late tries from Ed Stubbs and Henry Vanderglas.

Cup Quarter-Finals:

Samoa 19–0 South Africa

Only needing to reach the final of the Cup, Samoa kicked off their day well, dominating a disappointing South Africa. Tries from Reupena Levasa and Alafoti Fa’osiliva made it 14-0 at half-time.

And it was much of the same after, adding another try to book their place in the semi-finals.

Scotland 7–19 England

In what was the most anticipated match of the weekend, England came out on top with a 19-7 victory against a brave Scottish side.

In what was a fierce contest between the two rivals, Scotland took the early lead from Roddy Grant after he breached the English rearguard to touch down. England had a lot of possession but had to wait until the second-half, when Matt Turner was able to break through a sturdy Scottish defence.

England then dictated play and were finally rewarded from Nick Royle, who dived over the try line in the corner with only a minute to play. And then Royle, who took advantage of some tired looking defence, made the game safe with his second try in as many minutes.

Australia 15–7 Fiji

The Aussies made hard work of Fiji despite taking the lead through Ed Stubbs. However, a missed conversion meant Fiji took the lead 7-5.

But, just as it looked as though Fiji would be able to hang-on, some fantastic work from Bernard Foley allowed Brackin Karauria-Henry to score. And then Ed Jenkins wrapped up the 15-7 victory

New Zealand 26–0 Argentina

Favourites, New Zealand, progressed into the semi finals, but had to make hard work against a stubborn Argentina.

They scored the opening try early on, but the All Blacks had to wait until three minutes from time before they could add to their lead. Tomasi Cama raced through from a kick and, despite a heavy kick himself, he managed to touch the ball down before it went out of play.

Plate Final:

The sides that lost out in the Cup quarters were allowed to compete against each other in the Plate.

Scotland 19-0 Argentina

In front of an expected crowd, Scotland were unable to pressurise the Argentine defence too much in the beginning. However, when Andrew Turnbull raced clear of the Argentine defence to open the scoring near the end of the first period, Colin Shaw repeated his feat to take Scotland 12 points ahead going into the interval.

In truth, Scotland were equally as good in defence as they were in attack and didn’t give Argentina a sniff until the second half, but, following intense pressure from the South Americans, some hard tackling and organisation kept them at bay.

And then with less than two minutes left, a break from inside their own five metre line brought about the clinching try, with Ben Cairns receiving the plaudits from some excellent team work.

Plate Semi-Finals:

South Africa 14–19 Scotland

Chris Dry gave South Africa the lead after four minutes with a break through the heart of the Scottish defence. And he then doubled their advantage soon after when the ball was spread well across field.

Scotland, though, rallied and tries either side of half time brought them level on tries, but still two points behind due to the missed conversion.

However, the comeback was complete when Ben Cairns was on-hand to complete another Scotland break.

Fiji 17–19 Argentina

Meanwhile, in a heated affair, with plenty of strong tackles, Argentina snatched a dramatic semi final win in the final seconds. Neither team dominated the proceedings, but Fiji lead for most of the match.

With both teams scoring three tries each, conversions would ultimately decide the match. Argentina scored their first two, and they didn’t even need to convert the last one after Diego Palma had snatched a dramatic late try to book a place in the final.

Bowl Final:

Wales 26-10 Kenya

Wales won the Bowl final against a Kenya side who have impressed throughout the weekend.

Kenya looked to be heading for a historic victory early on when they scored two tries in the first half, both from Humphrey Kayange.

Wales, however, stepped up a gear in the second and looked by far the fitter and fresher side, scoring a further three tries from the one Lloyd Williams got in the first half.

The final result of 26-10, in the end, was a deserved one for the Welsh who will be happy with their efforts this weekend.

Bowl Semi-Finals:

France 12–26 Wales

Although the third tier of the sevens event, the Bowl still has quality sides competing in the last four, with France and Wales duelling it out first in the semis.

A close first half saw the scores level at seven a piece. However, a series of tries there after from the Welsh gave them victory, before a punch up right on full time gave the crowd something else to be excited about.

USA 12–17 Kenya

Then, in the second semi, Kenya took an early lead through Humphrey Kayange and stretched that further on the first-half hooter with a powerful run from Leon Adongo.

Zach Test’s third try of the weekend cut that advantage to seven points and then the United States soon levelled after more good passing in Kenyan territory.

With the scores level, the match was forced into extra-time, but it didn’t take Kenya long to secure their place in the final, as Collins Injera took advantage of a break from the Africans to win the match in sudden death.

Bowl Quarter-Finals:

France 19-5 Italy

France could consider themselves unlucky not to be competing in the Cup, but put that disappointment behind them as they strolled past Italy 19-5. Tries from Mathieu Acebes, Albert Valentin and Geoffray Pallis ensured the French were still in the hunt for the Bowl.

Wales 21- 14 Canada

In the second quarter-final of the Bowl, Wales raced into a 14-0 lead with two tries from Rhys Shellard, as Canada struggled to settle. They did, however, improve, and it took a Jevon Groves try in the dying moments to break Canadian hearts

Portugal 21–26 USA

In what was a high scoring match, the United States looked to be cruising after they scored three tries inside the first three and a half minutes from Zach Test, Paul Emerick and Blaine Scully. However, Portugal pressed hard during the second-half, but a second try from Scully wrapped up the win for the Americans.

Russia 0–12 Kenya

Kenya opened the scoring their match against Russia after the latters defence made a hash of clearing the ball. And they then, in the pouring Edinburgh rain, increased their advantage to 12 points on the stroke of half-time through Horace Otieno.

Russia never looked comfortable at any point in the match and Kenya easily deserved their victory.

Shield Final:

Russia 26 Canada 7

Russia took the Shield after a surprisingly comfortable victory over Canada. Two early tries from Igor Galinovsky put them on easy street and, despite Dave Moonlight giving the Canadians some hope, Russia added two more tries to make their Edinburgh trip all the more worthwhile.

Shield Semi-Finals: Italy 0–35 Canada, Portugal 0 – 19 Russia.

Due to their defeats in the Bowl, Italy took on Canada and Portugal provided opposition for Russia in the Shield semi-final.

Canada earned their first win since beating England on Saturday, thrashing Italy 35-0

The outcome never looked in doubt after scoring three easy tries in the first half against error stricken Italy.

Meanwhile, in the other match, Russia eased past Portugal in what was another one sided affair.

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