A dramatic day two of HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series action ends a breathless weekend.
Argentina men and New Zealand women secured HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series gold on a dramatic day two in Hamilton.
Day one on Saturday had been brilliant, but day two surpassed that with some amazing action.
Argentina came back from 12-0 down to win the men’s Cup final 14-12.
USA took bronze, but it was all about Argentina and Gaston Revol said: “This is just amazing, we have worked so hard for this.
“To beat New Zealand in New Zealand is the ultimate and the team never knew when they were beaten, everyone put in a lot of effort.”
HSBC Player of the Final Rodrigo Isgro said: “This team just works so hard, what a feeling.”
New Zealand now lead the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings on 63 points with USA second on 61 points and Argentina third on 59 points.
Meanwhile, New Zealand were superb all weekend in the women’s event, scoring 225 points and conceding just 19.
In the Cup final, Michaela Blyde scored a hat-trick in a 33-7 win over USA and Sarah Hirini said: “It is so amazing to win our home tournament, the support have been brilliant and we are delighted.
“The team have given everything over the two days and we will enjoy this one.”
HSBC Player of the Final Blyde, who scored 10 tries in two days, said: “This one is extra special, it means a lot.”
New Zealand now lead the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings on 58 points with bronze medal winning Australia second on 54 points and USA third on 50 points.
MEN’S CUP FINAL
Argentina fought back from 12-0 down to win this breathless Cup final.
In the first half, New Zealand had to deal with a yellow card for Joe Webber, but they took the lead when down to six men.
Akuila Rokolisoa was the try scorer that time and, when back to seven, Roderick Solo scored a second try just before half-time. Rokolisoa converted and it was 12-0 at the interval.
The second half belonged to Argentina though and tries from Santiago Alvarez and Marcos Moneta - converted by Santiago Vera Feld and Tobias Wade respectively - put them 14-12 up.
There was then late, late drama as Brady Rush had a try effort disallowed for New Zealand, but Argentina did it.
For Argentina, this gold is their first medal of this current circuit and should give them momentum for the coming months.
New Zealand now have a bronze and two silvers from four events.
WOMEN’S CUP FINAL
New Zealand continued where they had left off earlier in the day - and indeed on Saturday - with another excellent performance to defeat USA and win gold.
A Michaela Blyde try double with one in the middle from Jazmin Felix-Hotham and three conversions from Tyla Nathan-Wong put them 21-0 up in the Cup final.
Cheta Emba rounded off a good personal weekend for her with a try for USA converted by Alena Olsen, but there was no stopping New Zealand.
Blyde completed her hat-trick and then Portia Woodman-Wickliffe completed things 33-7.
New Zealand now have a silver and two golds from three events while USA have two bronzes and a silver.
MEN’S BRONZE FINAL
France were 14-10 up over USA heading into the final minutes of the bronze final, but it was the latter who managed to medal after a winning five pointer from Ben Broselle.
Theo Forner and William Iraguha scored converted tries for France, but Aaron Cummings, David Still and Broselle did the job for the Americans as they edged it 15-14.
It was the USA’s second bronze in four events, backing up their third place in Cape Town last time out.
WOMEN’S BRONZE FINAL
Beibhinn Parsons bagged a try double for Ireland, but Bienne Terita did the same for Australia to lead the latter to third.
In this bronze final, the Australians also had tries from Charlotte Caslick, Teagan Levi and Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea to come out on top 33-17.
They now have a gold, a silver and a bronze from the three events played.
MEN’S CUP QUARTERS AND SEMIS
In the first Cup quarter-final, France caused a shock to defeat Dubai champions South Africa 22-17.
Jonathan Laugel led the way for the French in that one with a try double and, next up, Argentina defeated Fiji 19-10.
Agustin Fraga, Luciano Gonzalez and Marcos Moneta were the Argentina try scorers with Santiago Vera Feld kicking two conversions.
Malacchi Esdale, Steve Tomasin, David Still and Perry Baker all scored converted tries for USA in quarter-final number three to get the better of Australia 28-14.
New Zealand and Ireland then played out a cracker.
Aaron O'Sullivan’s five pointer after a minute had the Irish ahead, but Sam Dickson’s unconverted effort made it 5-5 at the break.
After a scoreless six minutes or so after the interval, Brady Rush then popped up with a crucial five pointer to see New Zealand through.
New Zealand had no such issues in the first semi-final, Leroy Carter (2), Regan Ware, Akuila Rokolisoa (2) and Roderick Solo their try scorers as they swept past France 38-0.
Semi-final number two was closer, but Argentina had too much for USA and won 24-14.
Gonzalez, Moneta, Santiago Alvarez and Matías Osadczuk scored their tries in a 24-14 victory.
WOMEN’S CUP QUARTERS AND SEMIS
In the first Cup quarter-final, Charlotte Caslick led the charge with two tries as Australia dominated Great Britain to win 38-0.
Next up, USA were also in charge against Fiji, Ilona Maher, Kristi Kirshe, Naya Tapper, Sammy Sullivan and Alex Sedrick their try scorers as they got through 27-7.
Beibhinn Parsons (2), Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe and Megan Burns were the Ireland try scorers in quarter-final three, France put to the sword 24-7.
New Zealand then did conceded their first points of the weekend, but 12 points was never going to be enough for a battling Japan outfit.
The hosts scored 43 of their own, Risi Pouri-Lane (2), Jorja Miller, Shiray Kaka (3) and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe their try scorers.
Australia were leading 7-5 late in the first half of their Cup semi-final with USA before a Sullivan five pointer put USA 10-7 up.
They then defended very well in the second half to progress by that scoreline.
The second last four tie was a bit more one sided, Miller (2), Stacey Fluhler, Michaela Blyde (2) and Woodman-Wickliffe scoring in a 32-0 triumph.
MEN’S FIFTH PLACE PLAY-OFF
In the first fifth place semi-final, a late try from Jordan Conroy and a conversion from Billy Dardis gave Ireland an impressive 21-14 win over South Africa.
Tries from Dietrich Roache, Nathan Lawson, Henry Paterson and Henry Hutchison then saw Australia build up a 26-7 lead over Fiji.
The Fijians battled back with 12 late points, but it was too late and Australia held on to win 26-19.
The fifth place play-off was a cracking tie, Australia eventually getting the better of Ireland 26-17.
Jack Kelly, Terry Kennedy and Conroy were the Irish scorers in defeat while Paterson led the way with two tries for the victors with James Turner and Trae Williams also crossing.
WOMEN’S FIFTH PLACE PLAY-OFF
Heather Cowell and Emma Uren scored tries and Meg Jones kicked one conversion to help Great Britain get the better of Fiji in the first fifth place semi-final.
Late second half tries from Yume Hirano and Michiyo Suda, with the latter adding one conversion, then helped Japan edge past France 19-12.
In the fifth place final, Marin Kajiki scored two five pointers for Japan to keep them in the hunt, but converted scores from Grace Crompton and Isla Norman-Bell gave Great Britain the 14-10 win.
WOMEN’S SEVENTH PLACE PLAY-OFF
France dusted themselves down from their disappointing fifth place semi-final defeat to Japan to take seventh.
In the seventh place play-off they got the better of Fiji 34-5 with Séraphine Okemba, Yolaine Yengo (2), Chloé Pelle (2) and Lou Noel scoring their tries to end the weekend on a positive note.
MEN’S NINTH PLACE PLAY-OFF
In the first ninth place semi-final, Tonga battled hard before Kenya got past them 33-19.
Alvin Otieno, Nelson Oyoo (2), Edmund Anya and George Ooro Angeyo were the Kenya scorers in that one.
Next up, tries from Owen Niue, Paul Scanlan and a double from Neueli Leitufia helped Samoa get past Great Britain 24-14.
Otieno’s unconverted try gave Kenya an early lead in the ninth place play-off, but then Samoa got into gear and scored 26 unanswered points.
Their try scorers in the 26-5 triumph were Vaa Apelu Maliko (2), Motu Opetai and Niue.
WOMEN’S NINTH PLACE PLAY-OFF
Brazil blew away Papua New Guinea in the first ninth place semi-final.
Rafaela Zanellato, Thalia Costa (3), Marcelle Souza, Gabriela Lima and Thalita Da Silva Costa were the try scorers for the victors.
Next up, it was a much tighter affair as Spain managed to get past Canada 7-0 thanks to a try and a conversion from Claudia Peña Hidalgo.
Spain took heart from that battling performance and, in the ninth place play-off, got the better of Brazil 17-12.
Eva Aguirre Diaz led the way with a try double and Bruna Elias also crossed.
WOMEN’S 11TH PLACE PLAY-OFF
Canada were on top form here.
They won the 11th place play-off 44-5 against Papua New Guinea, Bianca Farella (3), Krissy Scurfield, Nakisa Levale, Fancy Bermudez Chavez, Renee Gonzalez and Shalaya Valenzuela scoring tries.
MEN’S 13TH PLACE PLAY-OFF
Tries from Jake Thiel, Josiah Morra and Brock Webster - all converted by the latter - gave Canada a 21-17 win over plucky Uruguay in the first 13th place semi-final.
Next up, Japan led at half-time, but Spain came back to win their semi-final also by 21-17.
Francisco Cosculluela, Francisco Soriano and Manu Moreno bagged converted tries for the Spanish side.
First half converted tries in the 13th place play-off by Cosculluela and Josep Serres put Spain 14-0 ahead of Canada.
The latter team rallied, but five pointers from Jaime Manteca and Alejandro Laforgo saw Spain come out on top 24-14.
There is not long to wait until the next event with both the men’s and women’s circuits moving onto Sydney in Australia now between January 27 and 29.