Sevens

Spain win dramatic 7s final to qualify for Rio 2016

Spain upset the odds to defeat top seeds Samoa 22-19 in a dramatic Monaco Sevens Cup final to book the final place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The Manu entered the tournament as top seeds, trailed 12-0 midway through the first half but hit back in the with tries to Alex Samoa and Alex […]

Peni Shute

June 20, 2016 10:02 am

Spain upset the odds to defeat top seeds Samoa 22-19 in a dramatic Monaco Sevens Cup final to book the final place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Samoa captain Faalemiga Selesele can't stop Ignacio Martin from crossing for the winning try. (World Rugby/Martin Lima)
Samoa captain Faalemiga Selesele can’t stop Ignacio Martin from crossing for the winning try. (World Rugby/Martin Lima)

The Manu entered the tournament as top seeds, trailed 12-0 midway through the first half but hit back in the with tries to Alex Samoa and Alex Fidow to lead 14-12 at halftime.

Samoa stretched their lead to seven points when Belgium Tuatagaloa crossed early in the second half.

Spain closed the gap to 19-17 with three minutes remaining to ensure a tight finish and clinched their Olympic berth in the dramatic fashion, with Ignacio Martin crossing the line as time expired to break Samoan hearts.

Spain captain Pablo Feijoo was overwhelmed at their achievement.

FEIJOO: “It’s so crazy. These lads work the entire year for this tournament and we get in the last position (for the Olympics) it’s amazing. They played with the heart – I can’t believe it. It’s a dream for us – we’ve been working, some of us, fifteen years for this. Many people in Spain believed in us and we just keep working these guys – it’s tough – have trust in us and this is the result of a dream.”

World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset congratulated Spain for the win.

LAPASSET: “Congratulations to Spain on qualification for Rio 2016 and completing the line-up of 12 men’s teams who will represent rugby on sport’s biggest and most famous stage. All the teams showed the very best of our sport and its character-building values at the Monaco Sevens and rugby has certainly been the winner throughout a truly compelling final qualifier weekend.”

Samoa had earlier beaten Hong Kong 31-12 in the quarter-finals and Germany 24-14 in the semis to progress to the final.

Tonga finished tenth at the repechage event after losing to Zimbabwe 31-5 in the Challenge Trophy final.

Tonga's Cooper Vunaduring their match aganist Samoa at the Monaco Sevens. (World Rugby/ Martin Lima)
Tonga’s Cooper Vuna during their match against Samoa at the Monaco Sevens. (World Rugby/ Martin Lima)

The Kingdom failed to win any of their pool games against Samoa, Zimbabwe, and Ireland but thrashed South Korea 41-7 and Uruguay 35-12 in the Challenge Trophy quarter and semi-finals.

Attention now turns to the women’s global repechage in Dublin next weekend where the 12th and final team for Rio 2016 will be decided with Samoa and Cook Islands among 16 teams vying for a place in Rio.

Spain celebrate qualifying for the Rio Olympics. (World Rugby/Martin Lima)
Spain celebrate qualifying for the Rio Olympics. (World Rugby/Martin Lima)

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