Spain won a dramatic Monaco Sevens final to secure qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, upsetting Samoa 22-19 to cap off an outstanding weekend of performances in the qualifying tournament.
The Men’s 7s battled it out in the Stade Louis II of Monaco for the honour of taking part in the Olympics, and join the already qualified teams as Olympians.
They included some regulars from the sevens circuit, Canada, Hong Kong and Samoa, and some relative newcomers such as Spain, Ireland and Germany.
Here is a quick overview of how it all happened, including a highlights wrap.
Kicking off with a bang there were a few upsets on Day 1. From a relatively tough Pool A that contained Ireland, Samoa, Tonga and Zimbabwe, top seeds Samoa lost to Ireland.
That was pretty surprising as Ireland had only this year started to take 7s seriously while Samoa, an experienced 7s side, had been victors in Paris in May of this year.
Meanwhile in Pool B Germany beat Canada, another 7s core team, to take the pool and qualify for the quarter finals. Pools C and D were topped by expected winners Russia and Hong Kong respectively.
After beating Samoa on the first day Ireland lost the 1st quarterfinal to Spain (7-12), who had finished 2nd in Pool D to Hong Kong. Spain then went on to beat the winners of the 2nd quarter final, Russia (17-12), to reach the final.
On the other side of the draw, Samoa were back in form, despatching Hong Kong (31-12) and seeing off Germany (26-14) to set up the final with Spain.
In the final Spain struck first with two tries from Llorens and Jlmenez before Samoa regrouped and returned fire with two of their own to put the score at Spain 12 – 14 Samoa at half time.
After the break Samoa picked up where they left off in the first half with a score from Tuatagaloa. Spain replied, but a missed conversion left it 17-19 to Samoa going into the dying minutes.
But then a wonderful team try finished by Goenaga in the corner ensured Spain, not Samoa, would be heading to Brazil in August.
“I am still trying to take it in,” said Angel Lopez. “This is a dream for us. We are going to be Olympians. We believed that we are good enough, but wow, this is pretty special.
“We now have a month to prepare for Rio 2016. We will be very motivated and determined to do our nation, our family and Spanish rugby proud.”
Congratulations to Spain on making history! We look forward to seeing you at the games.
Highlights of tournament are shown in the video below