Daveta retain Limerick Se&ens title as Leinster take provincial bragging rights
Daveta retained their Limerick World Club Se7ens title at Thomond Park but Connacht captain Shane Layden believes his side’s future is bright after they walked away with the Irish bragging rights.
This was the first year that all four Irish provinces were involved in the competition and Connacht finished a creditable third at the festival of rugby, Munster made it to the Plate final and Leinster beat Ulster in the Shield final.
Having qualified for the Cup quarter-finals from Pool C on Saturday, Connacht faced an in-form New York team but Nate Augspurger’s last-gasp conversion hit the post to hand the Irish outfit a 21-19 victory.
They followed that with a 26-0 loss to eventual champions Daveta in the semis but bounced back to hold off South African team Golden Lions 21-14 in the third place play-off.
And Layden claims it was the resilience shown by the young squad that left him most pleased.
“I don’t think many people expected us to come third but we showed real character in that last game,” he said.
“Obviously we faced the Fijians in the semi-final and they beat us up a bit. We didn’t stick to our systems but overall we’re absolutely delighted with coming third.
“It’s brilliant to be the best Irish province – it’s always competitive between the four and for Connacht to get one up before the season starts sends us home happy.
“It’s great for the young guys to get a bit of experience playing at this level and have a good crowd with a competitive environment as well.”
Fijian side Daveta looked imperious all weekend and having brushed aside Munster in the quarter-finals, they beat Connacht in the last four before holding off a second-half comeback from invitational touring side Samurai 7s in the final to prevail 19-17.
That handed them the Cup title for the second year running but captain Sakiusa Gavidi acknowledges the triumph wasn't without some casualties.
“Three or four players ended up injured, some of them with broken bones, but we managed to win the final and the boys gave everything,” said Gavidi.
“It means a lot to win again because the team that won here last year made history and we wanted to do the same. It means everything for us and for everyone back home.
“Playing in this tournament opens a lot of doors for me in terms of winning a contract, so I did my best with my brothers and it’s the best 7s tournament in the world.”
Munster brushed off the Daveta Cup quarter-final defeat to overcome New York 33-10 and reach the Plate final, much to the delight of a partisan home crowd.
A pair of Alan Bennie tries helped them into 19-7 lead over Buenos Aires in the decider but the Argentines responded to triumph 43-19 although Munster’s Tomas Quinlan insisted it had still been a great learning opportunity.
“The last match didn’t go to plan, we started well but they ended up coming back and beating us, which was disappointing but it was still a good experience,” he said.
“Hopefully we can build on it next year if we get another opportunity.
“Turning out at Thomond Park is always massive, it’s a lot of lads' first time running out as well.
“I’m hoping to maybe get a shot with the Munster A’s this season and hopefully get my foot in the door with the seniors a bit but it’s just taking every week as it comes.”
Meanwhile, after failing to qualify for the Cup competition on Saturday, both Leinster and Ulster contested the Shield.
Ulster beat San Francisco 17-7 in their semi-final, while Leinster downed Stade Francais 33-19 to set up a mouth-watering, all-Irish final.
And it was Leinster who prevailed as Adam Leavy’s try double helped them to a 33-17 win over their rivals, ending the weekend on a high.