Argentina claimed the HSBC SVNS 2024 series crown in Cape Town with a clinical win over Australia, a week after losing to South Africa in Dubai.
It was a fitting end to a weekend in which Los Pumas Sevens veteran Gastón Revol played his 100th tournament, and German Schulz scored his 100th international sevens try as the South American squad laid down a marker with a first-ever win in South Africa.
Argentina too hot to handle
Argentina were just too good for Australia as they added Cape Town gold to the silver they won in Dubai a week previously.
German Schulz opened the scoring with a long run-in, with Santiago Mare, Marcos Moneta and Matías Osadczuk also touching down in the first seven minutes as Australia struggled to keep pace with Los Pumas Sevens in the first period.
Australia’s cause was not helped when Nick Malouf was sin-binned for a high tackle.
They finally got on the scoreboard in the second half, as Nathan Lawson and Dietrich Roache cut the deficit. But player of the final Osadczuk’s second, his fourth in Cape Town, settled matters.
Tomas Elizalde and captain Santiago Álvarez’s late scores were the icing on the cake, as they rounded off the tournament with a 45-12 win.
“I love, too, the way they play,” Los Pumas Sevens coach and former player Santiago Gómez Cora said. “We said they’re crazy because you put all the passion – they know how to play, obviously – they are a team that feel the way that they play. They’re a little crazy to play in that way.
“We’re very happy because we feel at home here at Cape Town. They support us, so thank you very much, everyone – hope to see you next time.”
Los Pumas Sevens had reached the final for the ninth time since Seville 2022, with an organised 26-19 win over Ireland. The scoreline would have been more convincing had the Irish not run in two scores in the final minute, when the match was already lost.
James Turner described Australia’s 24-7 semi-final win over Fiji to reach their first-ever sevens final in South Africa as “pretty special”.
“We definitely had a slower start last week, and this week we really wanted to aim up,” he said.
Earlier, Argentina’s Schulz had dived spectacularly under the posts to score his 100th sevens try as Los Pumas Sevens eased past day one’s surprise package Canada 33-0 in their Cup quarter-final.
Fiji leave it late to claim bronze final
For the second time on finals day, Fiji left it very late – but claimed the bronze final with a try on the hooter at the end of the second half to beat a dogged Ireland 14-7
Captain Joseve Talacolo said Fiji still had work to do. “We have to work as a team and a lot on our defence. When we go back to Fiji, we’ll going to regroup and focus on our next tournament in Perth.”
An end-to-end momentum-swinger of a quarter-final between Fiji and France saw the Olympic champions race to a 17-0 lead; France, down to six pulled it back to 17-14 by half-time, then lead 24-17; before Kaminieli Rasaku ran in for a try with seconds left on the clock.
Terio Tamani converted to take the game into golden point extra-time. A crazy game only ended when Pilipo Bukayaro broke clear.
Fiji coach Ben Gollings paid tribute to his playmaker: “He’s a player who has just been getting better and better. He’s building his confidence game by game, it’s fantastic to see. He’s [got] big shoes to fill … replacing the likes of Jerry Tuwai in this game and he’s doing a fantastic job.”
Ireland’s Terry Kennedy had bagged a first-half hat-trick, as Ireland played a near-perfect opening seven minutes, racing into a 26-0 midpoint lead en route to a historic 36-21 win over New Zealand.
New Zealand end difficult weekend on a bright note
After another big weekend in Dubai, South Africa’s wait for a title on home soil will continue for another year. They finished the HSBC Cape Town Sevens in sixth place, after a 29-7 loss to New Zealand. Their championship hopes were ended earlier in the day, as Australia silenced the crowd with a 28-0 victory in the quarter-finals.
Injury-hit Canada, with only 10 players fit for their final outing, were unable to repeat their day one heroics, but finished with a thoroughly deserved 33-17 win over France to claim seventh – a massive improvement on their 12th-place finish in Dubai.
After beating USA 21-14 earlier on finals day, Great Britain ended their Cape Town campaign with a show as they beat Spain 31-7 to claim ninth place.
Samoa, 2022 Cape Town champions, scored one of the tries of the tournament in the 11th-place play-off against USA, going from deep in trouble in one corner of their in-goal area, via a series of passes, to a try in the opposite corner for Taitaifono Senio Tavita. But it couldn’t stop them finishing the 2023 tournament in 12th place, as they went down 24-19, after earlier losing 24-17 to Spain.