Scotland win first-ever Cup title in London
Scotland scored two tries in the final minute to ensure that their first-ever Cup final appearance on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series ended in celebration, breaking South African hearts in the process with a 27-26 victory. The Scots, who had beaten hosts England and defending HSBC London Sevens champions USA to reach the final, looked out of it after Rosko Specman raced away to score his second try to put South Africa 26-15 ahead, but then came the remarkable finish.
First Scotland created space for Dougie Fife to keep their hopes alive and then managed to win the restart, keeping their composure with good work from James Fleming and captain Scott Wight allowing Fife to seize his chance to score the match-winner. Scotland had edged a tight first half 10-7 after tries from Jamie Farndale and Wight, but tries in quick succession from Speckman and Cecil Afrika looked to have swung the final in South Africa’s favour. James Fleming and Specman then traded tries, but few in the Twickenham crowd had any inkling what was still to come.”I’m ecstatic, it hasn’t really sunk in at the moment,” admitted Wight. “We were a long way behind in the final but the boys stuck on task and we managed to get over the line at the end. It took a massive amount of effort and I’m honoured to say I’m captain of this side.”
Series champions Fiji had to settle for fourth place in London after losing 26-19 to USA, while there was also silverware to end the season for Shield winners Kenya, Bowl winners Wales and Plate winners New Zealand. Portugal, meanwhile, lost their place on the series and will be replaced as a core team by Japan in 2016-17.
The 2015-16 series has seen six different winners, including first titles for Kenya and Scotland. Series champions Fiji and New Zealand won three rounds each with South Africa and Samoa the other winners. World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said: “As we look ahead to a game-changing Olympic Games in 75 days, we can reflect on what will be remembered as the biggest and best HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series to date. “The compelling and highly-competitive action has captured the imagination of fans around the world in record numbers in stadia, on broadcast and in conversation.
I would like to thank all the teams and fans from around the world for making this series a truly exceptional one.” Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events at HSBC, added: “In a pivotal year for rugby sevens, HSBC as a long-standing and proud partner of the game has been working closely with World Rugby to capitalise on it. “The Olympic opportunity has already energised the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and sell-out crowds in Dubai, Cape Town, Sydney, Vancouver and Hong Kong are evidence of this. If we can continue to connect rugby sevens to new players, new countries and new audiences, it will be the spark that continues to ignite ground breaking growth for the game.”