The formbook was well and truly thrown out of the window in a year when the unpredictability we have grown accustomed to on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series was translated to 15s.

Here's our Top 10 standout results from 2022, in chronological order:

GEORGIA 25-25 PORTUGAL (men’s)

Knowing what we now know about Portugal this scoreline doesn’t look that remarkable. However, Georgia went into the opening round of Rugby Europe Championship 2022 having won 20 straight matches in the competition and were dead certs in most people’s eyes to continue that run.

The dominant Lelos were on a nine-game winning streak against Os Lobos, who had not won in Tbilisi since 2004. But tries from Manuel Cardoso Pinto, Rodrigo Marta and José Lima and 10 points from the boot of Samuel Marques had put Portugal 25-18 up going into the final quarter and a famous victory was theirs for the taking until Tornike Jalagonia’s converted try spared the home side a rare home defeat.

WALES 21-22 ITALY (men’s)

Italy had lost their previous 36 games in the Six Nations Championship and persistent questions were being asked about whether they belonged at this level as they stumbled towards another whitewash.

With the clock ticking down, it looked as if another brave defeat beckoned but a moment of brilliance from full-back Ange Capuozzo altered the course of history. From nowhere and with only seconds remaining, the teenager broke from deep and set up Edoardo Padovani to cross for a breathtaking score. Paolo Garbisi still had to knock over the conversion but the fly-half held his nerve and sent the ball sailing through the poles.


Andre Porter was the unlikely hero with a brace of tries as Ireland defeated New Zealand for the first time in New Zealand in the second test of the July series in Dunedin.

A first-half red card to All Blacks front-rower, Angus Ta’avao, helped the Irish cause but they were magnificent to a man and fully deserving of victory.

The following week Ireland became just the fifth touring side to achieve a series win in New Zealand, beating the All Blacks 32-22 in Wellington.

FIJI 20-23 SAMOA (men’s)

Samoa produced a comeback for the ages to wrestle the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup from Fiji.

Fiji, winners in five of the seven previous editions of the competition, raced into a 17-3 lead in the title decider at Churchill Park in Lautoka in July.

But the momentum of the game changed in the final half an hour when Samoa brought on their front-row replacements and started to get dominance at scrum time.

Seilala Lam scored both of Samoa’s tries, the second 10 minutes from time, and Rodney Iona made no mistake with the conversions as well as slotting three penalties.

USA 29-31 CHILE (men’s)

Santiago Videla kicked Chile into the history books as Los Condores qualified for the Rugby World Cup for the first time.

Chile had lost the first leg of their Americas 2 play-off doubleheader by a point and appeared down and out when the USA led 19-0 in the return match at a sold-out Infinity Park.

By now, USA had a 20-point advantage overall; however, Nick Civetta’s sin-binning on 32 minutes opened the door for Los Condores and two tries before half-time gave them renewed hope.

Joe Taufete’e and Santiago Videla then traded tries early in the second half before half-time replacement Matías Dittus crashed over for Chile and Videla converted to make it a one-score game.

Videla kicked a scrum penalty to hand Chile the lead but it looked as though it would all be in vain when USA were handed a lifeline of their own in the final minute.

AJ MacGinty pointed to the posts but the penalty was reversed when the TMO intervened and alerted the referee to a neck roll on Chile captain Martin Sigren.

Chile won the ensuing lineout, and the ball was punted into touch allowing Los Condores to celebrate the greatest victory in their history.


Los Pumas’ first-ever victory against the All Blacks had come on neutral soil in Australia a couple of years earlier but this was the first time they had actually won in New Zealand.

Both victories were very much from the same mould with magnificent defence backed up by iron discipline and some unflappable goal-kicking.

While Nicolas Sanchez was the hero of 2020, this time in Christchurch it was Emiliano Boffelli who took all the plaudits. Boffelli kicked six penalties and converted Juan Martin Hernandez’s opportunist score as Argentina ticked another first off their list.

ITALY 26-19 FRANCE (women’s)

Italy signed off their preparations for Rugby World Cup 2021 in style with only their fifth victory against France. What made the scoreline even more remarkable was that Les Bleues had won 21-0 the week before and Italy were also without injured captain Manuela Furlan.

Indeed, an Italian victory looked wholly unlikely when France went 14-0 up inside the first half an hour. But Italy responded magnificently and tries from Melissa Bettoni, Michela Sillari and Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi in addition to a penalty try saw the Azzurre secure a famous comeback win.

FIJI 21-17 SOUTH AFRICA (women’s)

An incredible game of rugby that Fiji dominated for long periods was only settled in the dying seconds as Karalaini Naisewa scored under the posts.

Fiji’s first-ever Rugby World Cup win had looked in jeopardy when Libbie Janse van Rensburg put South Africa in front for the first time in the match in the 79th minute.

But Fiji kept their nerve from the restart and another bullocking carry from irrepressible Mastercard Player of the Match Siteri Rasolea gave them the platform to get over the line and deny Zenay Jordaan a famous win on the occasion of her record-breaking 35th cap.

Had they lost it would have been a huge disappointment for the Fijians who wowed the fans with another thrill-a-minute performance, but two disallowed tries and a determined South African defence meant they could never put clear water between themselves and the Springbok Women, setting up a grandstand finish.

BELGIUM 5-71 PORTUGAL (women’s)

Portugal’s first game back in test rugby after a quarter of century in December 2021 had ended in a 10-8 win against Belgium and it was reasonable to assume that the return match, 11 months later, in the Rugby Europe Women’s Trophy, would be every bit as close.

However, there was only ever one team in it, the Portuguese brushing their hosts aside in a record win that brought them 11 tries. Sara Moreira and Neuza Reis led the scoring with a brace of tries apiece.

ITALY 28-27 AUSTRALIA (men’s)

Italy beat Australia for the first time at the 19th attempt after Wallabies debutant Ben Donaldson failed to kick a last-gasp conversion.

Following Pierre Bruno’s try, Ange Capuozzo scored twice but Australia finished the match strongly and would have won it had Donaldson managed to take his chance.

Australia outscored the Azzurri four tries to three in Florence, but the Italians were full value for the victory and could have had an easier time at the end had they not allowed 14 points to go begging from the kicking tee.