Scotland beat South Africa 27-26 in the final of the London Sevens, to win their first ever World Rugby Sevens Series title.
Scotland scored two tries in the final minute to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and ensure that their first-ever Cup final appearance on the World Rugby Sevens Sevens Series ended in celebration, breaking South African hearts in the process with a 27-26 victory.
The Scots, who had earlier beaten hosts England and defending London Sevens champions USA to reach the final, looked out of it after Rosko Specman raced away to score his second try to put South Africa 26-15 ahead, but then came the remarkable finish.
First they created space for Dougie Fife to score in the final minute to keep their hopes alive and then managed to win the restart, keeping their composure with good work from James Fleming and captain Scott Wight before Fife saw his change, rounding the defence to spark the celebrations.
Scotland had edged a tight first half 10-7 after tries from Jamie Farndale and Wight, the latter coming from the unusual sight of a driving maul, but tries in quick succession from Speckman and Cecil Afrika looked to have swung the final in South Africa’s favour.
James Fleming and Specman then traded tries, but few in the Twickenham crowd knew what an exciting finish they were in for.
“I’m ecstatic, it hasn’t really sunk in at the moment,” admitted Wight, who revealed Scotland had had photos of recent Cup winners Kenya and Samoa on the wall all week as motivation.
“We were a long way behind in the final but the boys stuck on task and we managed to get over the line at the end. It took a massive amount of effort and I’m honoured to say I’m captain of this side.”
Scotland’s win means there have been six different winners in 10 rounds this season with series champions Fiji and New Zealand winning three each and South Africa, Kenya, and Samoa also one.
Fiji had already wrapped up a second successive series title on Saturday by simply reaching the Cup quarter-finals, but they had to settle for fourth place in London after losing Madison Hughes’ try gave USA a 26-19 victory.
South Africa and New Zealand finish second and third in the standings behind Fiji to claim a coveted top three seeding for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Having beaten hosts England in the Plate semi-final, New Zealand went on to beat Argentina 29-14 and finish the series with one more piece of silverware.
The two sides drew 14-14 on day one in the pool stages and in the final it was Argentina who took the initiative with a try through Javier Rojas. Sir Gordon Tietjens’s side struck back immediately with Teddy Stanaway dropping off the back of a lineout then running under the posts.
With seconds left in the first half, rookie of the year nominee Regan Ware gave the All Blacks Sevens a slender 12-7 advantage. Rieko Ioane scored his 10th try of the tournament early in the second half, before Argentina’s athletic Axel Muller cut the deficit to three points.
Gillies Kaka and Pita Ahki both scored in quick succession to secure New Zealand’s second Plate of the series.
In a repeat match of their Pool B clash from day one, Wales overcame Australia 24-19 in the Bowl final. Having beaten Wales 22-10 on day one, it was Australia who struck first through John Porch, but Rhodri Williams was able to strike back quickly to level the scores going into the break.
Wales captain Luke Treharne sped over for a try early in the second half, but it was Australia who were able to bounce back through the powerful Tom Kingston. A brace of tries from Ben Roach and James Benjamin sealed the win for Wales, but not before Pama Fou got one back for Andy Friend’s side.
They may have tasted Cup victory in Singapore but at Twickenham Kenya finished their 2015-16 campaign with a Shield win against Russia.
It was Kenya who started off strongly with tries from Willy Ambaka and record breaker Collins Injera, who went over for his side’s second try shortly after Russian powerhouse Denis Simplikevich was given a yellow card for foul play.
Nelson Oyoo added a third shortly after, before Injera went over for Kenya’s fourth try and his 235th to put his side 26-0 ahead before the break. Russian playmaker Ramil Gaysin scored his team’s only try of the match early in the second half, before Oyoo bagged his second and confirmed the Shield win for Kenya.
Scotland 27-26 South Africa
Third place play-off
Fiji 19-26 USA
South Africa 26-21 Fiji
USA 17-24 Scotland
England 0-17 Scotland
New Zealand 14-42 USA
France 7-40 Fiji
South Africa 21-19 Argentina
Argentina 14-29 New Zealand
Argentina 31-5 France
England 10-35 New Zealand
Australia 19-24 Wales
Canada 17-21 Wales
Australia 22-21 Samoa
Australia 17-12 Portugal
Russia 17-22 Samoa
Kenya 19-21 Wales
Canada 19-7 Brazil
Kenya 31-7 Russia
Russia 26-7 Portugal
Brazil 5-38 Kenya
1) Fiji – 181 points
2) South Africa – 171
3) New Zealand – 158
4) Australia – 134
5) Argentina – 119
6) USA – 117
7) Kenya – 98
8) England – 92
9) Samoa – 89
10) Scotland – 87
11) France – 85
12) Wales – 54
13) Canada – 40
14) Russia – 28
15) Japan – 21
16) Portugal – 21
17) Brazil – 3
18) Zimbabwe – 1
19) South Korea – 1
With thanks to World Rugby’s official website