More than 100,000 fans turned up to watch Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 at the iconic AT&T Park in San Francisco and they were treated to some superb rugby over the course of the tournament.
The end result may have been familiar – gold medals for New Zealand in both the men’s and women’s competitions – but some of the action on show left those watching open-mouthed in awe.
Exactly one year out from the start of the next Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town, we pick out some of the special moments that people are still talking about to this day.
Back from the dead
In what must be one of the biggest comebacks in any form of the game, Scotland scored five second-half tries to overhaul a 26-0 deficit and beat Kenya 31-26.
Seemingly down and out, the Scots showed incredible composure to stay in the fight and then snatch victory from the jaws of defeat when Jamie Farndale crossed for the second time late on.
The victory put Scotland into the Rugby World Cup Sevens quarter-finals for the first time since 2005.
“I’m hugely relieved. We were staring down the barrel for a while there, but I feel in times like that you find out what you’ve got as a group,” said then Scotland coach John Dalziel.
Not content with one last-gasp winner, France’s women followed up their late heroics against Canada in the quarter-finals with another nerve-jangling victory against Olympic champions Australia in the last four.
Les Bleues had to come back from 12-0 down to reach the final for the first time, with Anne-Cécile Ciofani coming up with the matchwinner.
With the score tied at 12-12, Ciofani, one of the stars of France’s silver medal-winning team at the Tokyo Olympics, accelerated around the outside of the defensive cover to break the deadlock and score a stunning try in the final play.
After our second fan vote at #RWC7s, you voted for Phil Burgess as your @DHLRugby Moment That Delivers for day two of the competition, scoring this try for @englandrugby in their quarter-final win against USA pic.twitter.com/zNHvY9gLj9— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) July 22, 2018
Captain Tom inspires GB
A touch of magic from England captain Tom Mitchell under the most extreme pressure saved the day against the hosts USA.
With the game in sudden-death extra-time, Mitchell executed a pinpoint accurate cross-field kick in the direction of Phil Burgess who plucked the ball out of the clear blue San Francisco sky and scored to send England into the semi-finals.
“It was a ridiculous kick from Mitch, on the money in that kind of cauldron, it was bang on. For Phil to have the peace of mind to catch that and touch down was incredible,” said England try-machine Dan Norton.
New Zealand play their cards right
When Akuila Rokolisoa did a forward roll to celebrate scoring under the posts with 48 seconds of the Championship final to go, he put the game beyond England.
While Trael Joass added a fifth try to take the final scoreline to 33-12, it was at that point that the All Blacks Sevens knew a third title was theirs.
However, none of it would have been possible had it not been for a heroic effort in their quarter-final against France when the reigning champions defied the loss of three men to the sin-bin to win 12-7 and keep their gold medal hopes alive.
That against-the-odds triumph gave them the belief they could go on and defend the title they had won in Moscow five years earlier.
"The group have worked so hard with the new coaches and we’re so pleased to get a result at the end of the day,” co-captain Tim Mikkelson said at the time.
“To have three players yellow-carded in one half against France and still end up winning the game gave us so much belief.”
Isles has them dancing in the …
Carrying the fastest man in rugby tag didn’t slow down USA speedster Carlin Isles in their game against Scotland.
Collecting the ball just over 80 metres out, Isles turned on the after-burners and sped down the left touchline leaving the chasing defenders trailing in his wake. Those in front of him had no answer either, with Isles using his footwork to go in and then out, at full pace, for one of the tries of the tournament.
The partisan crowd were up on their feet whooping in appreciation.
Ghislaine Landry scored a hat-trick for Canada in a comfortable 43-19 victory against Brazil. But the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series record points-scorer did not have it all her own way in the Round of 16 match.
Landry is no slouch in the speed stakes but she was left for dead by Brazil’s Bianca Silva who ghosted through the Canadian defence on a scything 90-metre run to the line.
Silva’s effortless running style made it seem as though she had barely got out of second gear.
Michaela Blyde was in the form of her life at RWC Sevens 2018, top-scoring for the champions in the tournament with nine tries.
Six of those came in two matches as she followed up her hat-trick against Ireland with another in the final, a 29-0 win over France.
The third try was the pick of the bunch with the two-time World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year running a hard line from 40 metres out before stepping off her left foot and accelerating away to the line.
Russia may have lost their 13th place play-off with Samoa 22-17 but they produced the standout moment of the match – and one of the highlights of the tournament – in the build-up to Sergey Ianiushkin’s third-minute try.
In a tournament featuring the ball-handling skills of Fiji, offloads come and go in the blink of an eye but the one from German Davydov that put Ianiushkin away in the corner was simply sublime.
Finding himself in a man and ball situation, Davydov somehow manoeuvred his arms to catch the ball and release it in one movement – chicken wing-style – and find his team-mate on the edge.