Wednesday 18 July 2018

Connacht claim third as Fijians edge epic final

The captains of the 12 competing teams pose before the tournament
The captains of the 12 competing teams pose before the tournament

Declan Rooney

Daveta Rugby claimed back-to-back Limerick World Club Sevens titles with a 19-17 win over Samurai in a pulsating decider yesterday at Thomond Park.

A hat-trick from flying winger Emori Waqa looked to have given Daveta a simple victory, but a late brace from Aderito Assuncao left just two points between the sides.

And in a manic last minute Samurai could have taken victory when a Fijian player kicked the ball off the post in his efforts to put the ball dead, but a Daveta hand got the crucial downward pressure to clinch the win.

The Fijians won all six of their games on the way to the final victory. Samurai produced the shock of the day with victory over Golden Lions in the semi-final.

A sudden death try from Pedro Leal gave Samurai a 22-17 win over the Lions who had three men sin-binned in the second half and had led 17-8 with six minutes remaining.

But in the final, the colourful Henry Paul-trained outfit fell agonisingly short of the win, as the Fijians left with the spoils again.

Conor McPhillips' strong Connacht squad made it through to the knock-out stages thanks to two wins from three games on Friday. And an impressive 21-19 win over New York set up a semi-final clash with favourites Daveta.

There was to be no surprise as two tries from Mesulame Kunavula eased the Fijians to a 26-0 win; Connacht finished third overall after a 21-14 win over Golden Lions in the third-place play-off.

Tries from James Connolly, Shane O'Leary and Danny Qualter gave the Westerners a 21-7 lead, but after a yellow for Connolly and a second yellow for Shane Leyden they just held on for a one-score win.

Home side Munster had earlier felt the full force of Daveta's brilliance: the Fijians ran in six tries on their way to a 40-14 triumph over Colm McMahon's side, and there was more disappointment for the men in red, who fell to a 43-19 defeat to Buenos Aires in the Plate final.

There was plenty of impressive performers for Munster, though, especially Alan Bennie who landed two tries and two conversions in the Plate final, while Alex Wootton, Cian Aherne and Steve McMahon also put in strong second days.

After a largely disappointing day one, Leinster had a bit more to be cheerful about when they picked up the first silverware of the day with victory over Ulster in Bowl final.

Two Mark Griggs tries had given Leinster the win over Stade Francais in the semi-final, while Ulster also got off to a winning start by beating San Francisco by 17-7.

However, Leinster proved stickier opponents in the final as two tries for both Billy Ngawin and James Beattie before half-time eased Hugh Hogan's side to a 33-17 victory despite three late Ulster tries.

Sunday Indo Sport

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