The Great Britain Men’s and Canada Women’s teams emerged from the sixth edition of the FISU World University Rugby Sevens competition with gold medals after a weekend of hard-fought competition involving 11 teams in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
In the Men’s competition, reigning champions Britain beat Namibia, Canada and Japan and lost narrowly to France in the group stages before edging out hosts Brazil 12-10 in the semi-final to set up a date with Belgium. Belgium progressed to the final after bouncing back from an opening round loss to Brazil with wins over Taipei, Argentina and France.
Despite going 7-0 down to the Belgians, Britain hit back to score tries through Ruaridh McConnochie, twice, and Rob Coote to win 17-7 and retain the crown they won in Brive two years earlier.Great Britain captain Aaron Morris of the Darlington Mowden Park club in England was named Player of the Tournament.
Team Manager Phil Llewellyn said: “We’re extremely proud of the guys, particularly for their performance against Belgium. They were brilliant for the full 20 minutes and certainly saved their best for the final – which was very pleasing.”
Meanwhile, Canada ended Great Britain’s hopes of successfully defending both titles at the semi-final stage of the Women’s competition before going to claim gold themselves after avenging an earlier 19-12 loss to France with a 26-17 victory in the final
"I’m very proud of this team's effort," said head coach Sandro Fiorino. "We had contribution from all 12 players and all of them had a part in our success today. Despite being down, earlier in the gold medal game, the team did not panic and showed strong resilience. Credit to the ladies, they were very unselfish and played for each other.
"This medal shows that our pathway of CIS women's rugby is working," said Fiorino, who hopes the side can repeat the success two years from now in Great Britain. "We had a very young team and these players will have the chance to play at this level again in two years."
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