The USA recorded a 45-22 victory over Australia to lift the Marriott London Sevens Cup final in emphatic style, their first in the history of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Two tries from Danny Barrett and Maka Unufe helped Mike Friday's side to the win at Twickenham, their first in the history of the Series, where a record 116,219 fans turned out over the two days, leaving them sixth overall in the standings having finished 13th last year.
“It is amazing, credit to those boys the 12 of them have been absolutely fantastic and there are about another 10 back in the USA that have worked their socks off all year, their work effort has been fantastic," said head coach Friday. "I've said to them if you work hard in life then you get the rewards and they've been a credit to their country and their families and I’m proud of every one of them.”
Captain Madison Hughes added: "It is an absolutely incredible feeling, I remember coming to this tournament as a boy watching from the stands hoping that I could play in it some day. The new management team Mike Friday, Chris Brown and Phil Greening, have revolutionsed the way in which we attack rugby, the way in which we train and our rugby lives. There is so much more to come."
Earlier two tries from Savenaca Rawaca secured Fiji's win over South Africa in the quarter-finals to clinch the series title for the first time since 2006 and only second-ever. Ben Ryan's side went on to beat hosts England 26-12 in the third place play-off before lifting the title.
"I can’t really put it into words, we were just focusing on the South Africa game, but deservedly won and took the title," said Ryan. "The boys were very overly emotional in the changing room and I had to control them a bit and remind them to start smiling and that this is supposed to be fun. It was certainly a topsy turvy weekend. We wanted to go first day unbeaten and finish what we started in Gold Coast."
NEW ZEALAND BEAT BLITZBOKS TO PLATE
The defending series champions New Zealand ended the season on a high with a 26-14 victory over South Africa. The Blitzboks still finish second having beaten Scotland 31-7 in the Plate semi-finals with the season's top try scorer Seabelo Senatla adding two tries to his tally. Sherwin Stowers, DJ Forbes, Dylan Collier and Rieko Ioane scored for Sir Gordon Tietjens' side who finish third in the overall standings.
New Zealand captain DJ Forbes reflected on his side's year: "It was probably an awesome game to watch but it was really hard to play in. Against a good South African side, I guess we can hold our heads high. It's hugely disappiointing to finish third overall but that's the way sevens is going - any team can win on it's day. We achieved one of our goals though qualifying for Rio."
INJERA'S SIGNATURE SECURES BOWL FOR KENYA
Collins Injera scored his 200th try for Kenya in their 24-12 Bowl quarter-final win over Japan, celebrating in style by signing the ball and camera. Injera added two more, along with Billy Odhiambo and Dennis Ombachi, as the Kenyans beat Samoa 38-7 in the semi final before proving too strong for Los Pumas 26-12, Injera adding his fourth of the day.
Injera's brother Humphrey Kayange praised Kenya’s spirit as they won the Bowl. “I think that we didn’t start the tournament well yesterday and we let ourselves down but we picked ourselves up today. It was great to see Collins get to 200 tries and we are all massively proud of the work that he has done and contributed to the team.”
SHIELD FINAL: JAPAN v FRANCE
Japan came from 19-0 down to beat France 21-19 in the Shield final, ending their season as a core side on a high with their first piece of silverware of the season. Yoshikazu Fujita, Lote Tuqiri and Lomano Lemeki all scored in the victory.
Japan’s Lemeki praised his side’s heart after finishing with a Shield victory: “It means a lot and although we won’t be here next year it was still good to finish off on a high note. It is on the up, we just have to keep on working hard and if we can get a full 12 core members together and train hard hopefully we’ll be back stronger."