They say that good things come to those who wait and that was certainly the case for Argentina on day two of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series men’s event in Vancouver on Sunday.
The Argentineans played some amazing rugby all weekend and really turned it on in the final against Fiji, the winners in Singapore the week before, to lift the title.
Santiago Gómez Cora, the Argentina head coach, was playing the last time that his country last won a Cup event on the circuit way back in 2009 in San Diego which was well over 100 events ago. He also played in 2004 when they won their first ever Cup final in Los Angeles.
As a result he was understandably emotional after the full-time whistle blew and he said: “You have to dream because dreams do come.
“I loved playing on the circuit, but ever since I have been a coach this has been the moment I have been working towards and my players must take all the credit because they work so hard and they wanted to win this one for their country so much.”
Elsewhere, Australia finished third, South Africa were fifth, Ireland were ninth and the USA were 13th after the two days of action.
Meanwhile, during day two England legend Dan Norton, the top all-time Series try-scorer with 358 tries to his name, announced this was to be his last tournament of a glittering career.
Fiji took the lead after two minutes when the ball was shipped wide left and Kaminieli Rasaku went over for the unconverted try.
Ninety seconds later flyer Marcos Moneta scored an excellent try for Argentina, his ninth of the weekend, which Tobias Wade converted to go 7-5 up.
Before half-time the Argentineans then scored their second and third tries, a brilliantly worked team effort finished off by Santiago Vera Feld and then Marcos Moneta going over in the corner as they led 17-5 with seven minutes remaining.
Just after the interval, Argentina had Tobias Wade yellow carded and Fiji looked to take advantage against their shorthanded opponents.
They did that straight away when Jerry Tuwai scored, but the conversion was missed and Argentina led 17-10 with six minutes to go.
Felipe Del Mestre’s converted try, set-up by Marcos Moneta, with two minutes to go put Argentina 24-10 up.
A second try from Felipe Del Mestre ended things at 29-10.
Player of the Final Marcos Moneta said: “We knew that Fiji would come at us, but we matched them physically and we managed to score some good tries when our chances came along.
“This one was for all of our fans around the world who give us so much support – thank you.”
Samoa were 19-7 up at half-time and 19-14 up heading into the final moments of the Bronze medal match, but it was Australia who finished third.
That was because Nathan Lawson scored a try at the death converted by Maurice Longbottom.
Earlier the other Australian points had come from tries by Dietrich Roache and Timothy Clements and two conversions by the former.
Vaa Apelu Maliko, Indiha Saotui-Huta and Motu Opetai were the Samoa try scorers with Iafeta Purcell converting two of them.
Samoa had played brilliantly to defeat South Africa in the Cup last eight phase, but the semi-final was a step too far for them.
Fiji were at their irresistible best, Josua Vakurunabili (2), Vuiviawa Naduvalo (2), Kaminieli Rasaku, Tira Patterson and Pilipo Bukayaro all scored tries as they saw off the shellshocked Samoans 45-5.
Marcos Moneta’s try double – added to by five pointers by Lautaro Bazan Velez and Rodrigo Isgro and two Tobias Wade conversions – got Argentina past Australia 24-12.
Dietrich Roache and Josh Turner had scored tries in the first half to keep Australia level at the break, but it was not to be.
In the Cup quarter-finals, Fiji were the first side through to the last four, but they were made to work hard by France.
Tries from Waisea Nacuqu, Tevita Daugunu, Vuiviawa Naduvalo and Jerry Tuwai eventually saw Fiji come out on top 24-21. Waisea Nacuqu also converted two of the scores.
Vaovasa Afa, Vaa Apelu Maliko (2) and Faafoi Falaniko scored tries, all converted by Melani Matavao, as Samoa played one of the ties of the weekend next up to get the better of South Africa 28-17.
Zain Davids, Selvyn Davids and Ronald Brown were the South African try scorers in defeat.
Argentina turned on the style to beat England 40-17.
Luciano Gonzalez (2), Marcos Moneta (2), Lautaro Bazan Velez and Franco Sabato were the victors try scorers here, Blake Boyland, Joe Browning and Calum Randle crossing for an England team who were second best.
New Zealand, Cup finalists in Singapore, looked to be heading through to the semi-finals here until Australia put together a quite brilliant fightback.
Brady Rush and Tone Ng Shiu tries along with one conversion had New Zealand 12-0 up at half-time in the final last eight tie.
Australia found an extra gear though after the break and tries from Ben Marr and Corey Toole (2) – added to by two Maurice Longbottom conversions – saw them through against their oldest rivals.
It has been a testing fortnight for South Africa, four event wins on the spin followed by more inconsistent showings, but they dug deep to defeat New Zealand in the fifth place play-off final here.
Unconverted tries by Caleb Tangitau and Kitiona Vai as opposed to a converted effort by Siviwe Soyizwapi had New Zealand 10-7 up at half-time in the match.
A further five points from Ngarohi McGarvey-Black had the Kiwis leading 15-7 before late tries by JC Pretorius and James Murphy saw South Africa clinch the game 17-15.
Earlier both sides had easily won one-sided fifth place semi-finals.
Ronald Brown, Siviwe Soyizwapi (3), Christie Grobbelaar and James Murphy were the South Africa try scorers in a 36-7 domination of France while Leroy Carter, Caleb Tangitau (2), Brady Rush, Kurt Baker and Akuila Rokolisoa were on target for New Zealand in a 34-5 victory over England.
That last game was the last ever on the Series for the aforementioned Dan Norton.
Ireland were not able to hit the heights they had hit in reaching the Cup semi-finals in Singapore, but they made sure the weekended ended on a positive note by getting the better of the hosts in the ninth place play-off.
Andrew Smith, Steven Kilgallen and Jack Kelly scored tries with Hugo Lennox converting the first as the Irish raced into a 17-0 lead after eight of the 14 minutes.
A late consolation effort came from Anton Ngongo, converted by Cooper Coats, but Ireland won this one 17-7.
Earlier Canada had the supporters on their feet at BC Place when tries from Brock Webster (2), Jake Thiel and Alex Russell along with three Cooper Coats conversions saw them get past Scotland 26-22 in the ninth place semi-final.
Ross McCann, Jamie Farndale, Harvey Elms and Jacob Henry scored tries for the Scots in defeat.
A Terry Kennedy try double – and two conversions from Billy Dardis – saw Ireland just squeeze past Wales 14-12 in their semi-final. Callum Williams and Iwan Pyrs Jones were the try scorers for the Welsh.
The USA were fourth in the overall standings going into this weekend, but had to settle for 13th place after a frustrating couple of days.
They won the 13th place play-off against Spain, tries from Lucas Lacamp, Ben Broselle, Dmontae Noble, Malacchi Esdale and Marcus Tupuola – as well as four conversions by Lacamp – getting them home 33-24.
Manu Moreno, Jerry Surumi Davoibaravi, Juan Martinez and Nicolas Nieto were the Spanish try scorers.
Earlier Maceo Brown’s try double had helped the USA ease past Japan 33-12 in the 13th place semi-final while Juan Martinez and Juan Ramos had both bagged try doubles as Spain defeated Kenya 24-7 in their last four tie.
The next top level sevens action is once again in Canada in a fortnight’s time.
The women are back in action next in Langford, their fifth event of six on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series circuit for 2022, on April 30 and May 1.
The men’s seventh of nine events for the calendar year comes in Toulouse, France, between May 20 and 22.