After 140 tournaments, the wait is finally over. Canada are Cup champions for the first time after their Cinderella run at the World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore on Sunday.
Canada got off to a modest start to the tournament with wins against Russia and Hong Kong on Saturday, before losing to Fiji 35-7 in their final game of the day.
But on Sunday, the Canadians were giant killers. They beat rugby power New Zealand 26-14 in the quarter-final before defeating Vancouver Cup-winners from England 17-5 in the semis.
Canada jumped out to a commanding 19-0 lead in the final, before USA clawed back to tie it. Lucas Hammond scored the game-winning try with a minute left to seal a 26-19 the championship.
WINNERS! Lucas Hammond scores the winning try for @RugbyCanada in Singapore! 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/0qMMwVFNjl
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 16, 2017
“It’s hard to put words into how it actually feels,” Pickering, Ontario’s John Moonlight said. “We took a licking from Fiji yesterday and took a licking from the coach, from the players, and ourselves.”
Hats (and shirts) off to these men for an incredible weekend in @SgRugby7s! 💪🇨🇦🏉🏅🏆 @WorldRugby7s pic.twitter.com/yXVbdswU71
— Rugby Canada (@RugbyCanada) April 16, 2017
Richmond, BC’s Nathan Hirayama was named Player of the Final.
“I’m speechless, I’m so proud of the boys,” Hirayama said. “We’ve been working so hard, a lot of us for so long, and it feels so good to put a tournament together and get it done. We got a bit of a kick in the butt last night after Fiji, they hammered us and it was a bit of a wake-up call.”
Canada’s performance was in stark contrast to how they fared at home in Vancouver last month. In that tournament, Canada was beaten easily (36-7) by South Africa in the quarter-final.
Sunday’s final was just the second time Canada had ever reached a final on the Series, with their last appearance coming in 2014 in Glasgow.
“We showed up today and showed the world that we can beat anyone,” Moonlight added. “We beat three of the top four teams here so we’re flying.”
With the win, Canada moves to seventh-place after eight events on the 10-stop World Series, with only Paris (May 13-14) and London (May 20-21) to go.