HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s

Rugby: Canada end their long wait for Sevens Series Cup win

Left: Canada's Lucas Hammond evades the American defence to score the winning try in the Cup final of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens at the National Stadium. Below: Before this momentous win, the Canadians came closest in 2014, when they lost the Cu
Canada's Lucas Hammond evades the American defence to score the winning try in the Cup final of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens at the National Stadium.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Left: Canada's Lucas Hammond evades the American defence to score the winning try in the Cup final of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens at the National Stadium. Below: Before this momentous win, the Canadians came closest in 2014, when they lost the Cu
Before this momentous win, the Canadians came closest in 2014, when they lost the Cup final to New Zealand in GlasgowST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

First title in 140 World Rugby Sevens legs, as underdogs defeat Americans in thrilling final

For the second straight year, the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens produced a first-time Cup winner.

Canada have played in 139 previous legs of the World Rugby Sevens series without winning a title, until last night at the National Stadium, when they beat the United States 26-19 in a thrilling Cup final.

When the final whistle sounded, the Canadians hugged one another in exhilarating joy, much like what Kenya did in last year's edition, when they stunned favourites Fiji 30-7 in the showpiece match.

The last time Canada contested in a Cup final was in 2014 in Glasgow, where they lost 7-54 to New Zealand.

Their best result this season was a fourth-place finish in Wellington in January.

Captain John Moonlight said their underdogs tag suited them fine during the tournament.

  • RESULTS

  • CUP

    Final: USA 19 Canada 26

    Bronze: Australia 12 England 14

    5TH PLACE

    South Africa 12 New Zealand 17

    CHALLENGE

    Scotland 12 Wales 24

    13TH PLACE

    Argentina 40 Russia 19

    OVERALL STANDINGS

    1 South Africa 157pts

    Fiji 132

    3 England 130

    4 New Zealand 110

    5 USA 101

"No one worries about you that much, and after our (pool stage) loss to Fiji, the big teams probably weren't worried about us too much today," he said. "But we turned around and showed that we're worthy of being here, and that we can win more Cups."

Canada got off to a dream start, when winger Matt Mullins opened the scoring within 60 seconds, and then Harry Jones and Mike Fuailefau each added tries as Canada surged to a 19-0 lead.

The Americans responded with tries from Perry Baker and Stephen Tomasin before the interval to cut the deficit to 19-12.

Baker's second try shortly after the restart drew the US level, and appeared to swing the contest in their favour.

However, Canadian centre Lucas Hammond broke through to score the winning try.

Coach Damian McGrath said: "The game plan was to go in, hold the ball and put them under pressure - and we did just that."

Both sides defeated top teams en route to the final. Canada beat New Zealand and England in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, while USA stunned Olympic champions Fiji in the quarter-finals.

Moonlight said defeating top teams like the All Blacks "just proves that we should be here".

Reaching the Cup final was the US' best result this term, having failed to make it past the semi-finals of the last three legs.

Baker, who fulfilled numerous requests for autographs and pictures, was glad his side managed to overcome their semi-final hoodoo, but added: "We just didn't execute it all the way today, so back to training we go again, and we'll try to do it again in Paris."

While the Singapore Sevens runners-up will be looking ahead to next month's Paris Sevens, Canada will likely bask in the glory of their victory for just a while longer.

Centre Justin Douglas said with a grin: "We're going to have fun at Clarke Quay tonight."

Moonlight added: "It feels like Singapore is our second home now, and I'm always going to remember Singapore for sure."

• Additional reporting by John Pravin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2017, with the headline 'Canada end their long wait'. Print Edition | Subscribe