The USA proved too strong for Samoa in the Cup
Final of the Las Vegas Sevens on Sunday, beating the Pacific
islanders 27-0 and becoming the outright leaders on the HSBC World
Rugby Sevens Series 2019.
After four consecutive Cup final appearances,
finishing with four losses, Mike Friday's outfit were willed on by
a packed house. The fervent home support brought out the best in
the side and the result was the retention of their tournament
crown in Las Vegas.
Despite losing Danny Barrett to injury at the
end of the second day, the outfit dominated the Cup Final with
physicality in defence and sharp finishing in attack. In contrast
Samoa, playing in their first Cup Final since 2016, didn't settle
and went into the interval 10-0 down.
The USA upped the
tempo in the second half and never looked like losing.
They scored five tries in the final with two coming from the HSBC
Player of the Final Ben Pinkelman and kept their opponents
Speaking after the victory the USA captain
Madison Hughes shared the feelings of excitement and pride after
their recent Cup final losses, "If we're going to win one of them
then the one at home was the one we wanted. It feels so good,
having missed out on it last year when I was up in the box
[injured]. So now to be here on the field feels pretty good," said Hughes. "I'm so proud. That final shows that the first day
didn't really go the way we wanted it to but there was such good
fight in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. It feels
pretty amazing to be out here now."
After five rounds, and at the halfway point of the HSBC
World Rugby Sevens Series 2019, the tournament victory creates a five-point cushion for the USA at the top of the standings. New
Zealand are in second place, Fiji sit in third and England are currently in fourth, just one point ahead of South Africa.
At the end of all ten rounds the top four teams will confirm
their places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Twelve teams will
compete for the Olympic medals in from 27 July - 1 August at Tokyo
Stadium and Japan are the only side currently qualified due to
automatic qualification as the host nation.
All 16 teams that took to the stage in Las Vegas will
reconvene for the next leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series
in Canada on 9-10 March.
Pictures from 2019 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015,
Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong
Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015,
Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013,
of Chartis Cup 2012 and
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.