VANCOUVER. British Columbia (AP) — Argentina claimed its first title in the World Rugby Seven Series in 14 years Sunday when it beat Olympic champion Fiji 29-10 in the final of the Vancouver Sevens.
The last time Argentina won a World Series title was in 2008 in San Diego when current coach Santi Gomez Cora was a player.
“You have to dream because the dreams come true,” Gomez Cora said. “I can’t believe it. I searched for this for nine years as a coach and I can’t believe it.
“The Olympics first and now this. I’m so happy and so proud of these guys.”
Argentina took the bronze medal behind Fiji and New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics as a sign of it improved standing in world sevens. Its win on Sunday was a culmination of a long effort to match the standards of the world’s best teams.
“I did it as a player and my dream after being a player was to do it was a coach,” Gomez Cora said. “The dream has come true.
“We worked very hard to arrive here. The players gave everything everyday in Argentina, here and at the tournaments. It’s not easy for us, we have a lot of trials but it’s enough. We won.”
Fiji scored the first try of the final through Kaminieli Rasaku but Argentina took a commanding lead with two tries to player of the match Marcus Moneta and another to Santiago Vera Feld.
Jerry Tuwai struck back for Fiji but Argentina sealed the match with two tries to Felipe Del Mestre.
Argentina reached the final with a 24-12 semifinal win over Australia, which previously had beaten New Zealand in the quarterfinals. Fiji made its way to the trophy match with a 45-5 win over Samoa in an all-Pacific semifinal.
Australia beat Samoa 21-19 in the bronze medal playoff.
South Africa retained the overall series lead despite its shock quarterfinal loss to Samoa. After four wins from six tournaments it holds a six-point lead over Argentina with Australia five points behind in third place.
The next leg of the World Series is in Toulouse, France from May 20 to 22.