Samurai Rugby beat Projecx Waterboys in the Pilgrim’s Gin Men’s Elite Final at Edinburgh City 7s this weekend in the competition’s second year.
A dominant run in the Pool stages saw Samurai beat Rex Club Red Kites, the Wailers, and the Commonwealth Crusaders before they faced CLIC Sargent Godfathers in the semi-final, who they downed 35-28 to earn a place in the final.
Similarly, the Waterboys topped their Pool, winning against The Rugby Plus Powerbombs, Kaiviti Barbarians, School of Hard Knocks and CLIC Sargent Godfathers before trumping the Rex Club Red Kites in the semi-final stage.
The first half of the final was a tight affair with neither side managing to establish dominance over the other, but the eventual winners Samurai opened the scoring when Scotland 7s-capped Tom Brown dived over in the corner.
Waterboys were quick to hit back though, and Jordan Edmunds dotted down under the sticks to the draw his side level, before Melrose and Scotland 7s player Sam Pecqueur produced a fine solo effort to take Samurai into the lead on the stroke of half-time, the score 12-7 at the break.
The second half started as the first ended, with good link play between Callum Young and Ruari Campbell securing Samurai their third try of the evening. The Waterboys then closed the gap when Charlie Mackill crossed with Samurai’s Young in the bin.
The sides traded tries once more with Mike Adlard finishing off a break from Pecqueur to score for Samurai before Murray Johnstone did the same for the Waterboys, darting down an undefended blindside to dive over the line.
With the game almost over and looking for the win, the Waterboys rejected the conversion, taking a short restart in an attempt to regain possession. Unfortunately for them, the ball was gathered by Young who paced up field before an excellent offload by Campbell sent Pecqueur over to seal the tie and the title for Samurai, 31-19 the score on the final whistle.
Speaking after the final, Richard Mill, who turned out for Samurai at this year’s tournament, said:
“It’s a great bunch of boys and it was an absolute pleasure. I feel very honoured to play for this team, it’s a quality team.
“When we kept to our shape, [we were comfortable]. We have x-factor players all across the park and everybody bought into the system we were playing.
“In the first game, we were pretty shoddy but we definitely got better as the day went on,” Mill continued.
“We knew that our attack would take care of itself as long as we kept our defence solid throughout the afternoon and that showed in the semi final and final.”
Projecx Waterboys skipper Tom Wilson was equally complimentary of his team-mates, saying after the game: “We did really well. It was a really good day, and we played some good stuff.
“Unfortunately in the final, we were pipped at the end. It was a good game, back and forth, and it was once of those ones where the bounce the ball matters.
“But fair play to Samurai for winning it – we lost to [them] in Amsterdam too so they seem to be our nemesis!”, he joked.
With an estimated attendance of over 2,500, the second rendition of the capital’s biggest 7s competition was excellently received, and, despite the patchy weather, the standard of rugby on show was even higher than last year’s event, with over 35 teams competing across four competitions.
The Crusaders, a team dedicated to tackling male cancer, were the first side of the day to take home silverware when they won the newly-incorporated Murray Capital Men’s Vets 10s competition, beating The Powerbombs Vets 19-5 in a hotly-contested final.
Next, it was The Bullbarians who raised the Belhaven Brewery Men’s Social Competition trophy after downing the impressive The Island Boys 21-12 in the last game of the social arm of the event.
As they had all day, The Island Boys showed some remarkable handling skills to run in two first half tries, putting their noses in front at half-time, the score 7-12. But an emphatic second half display from the Bullbarians saw them finish the game 21-12 victors, and lift the competition’s trophy, presented by Scotland and Edinburgh fullback Blair Kinghorn.
The Rettie’s Ladies Competition was particularly successful with 8 teams competing across two pools, and with SCRUM RP and Rex Club Red Kites Women meeting in the final. Although SCRUM RP defended valiantly, last year’s winners managed to make it back-to-back Edinburgh City 7s titles, winning the tie 42-7.
Our coverage of Edinburgh City 7s is brought to you by Pilgrim’s Gin.
Image caption: Samurai captain Bruce Colvine looks to evade the tackle in the final. Credit: Rugby People