HOST club, Borneo Eagles Club (ERC) bagged their sixth Borneo Sevens title when they defeated Hong Kong Dragons 19-14 in a closely battled match to wrest the title at their Stadium in Sandakan yesterday evening (Sunday).
ERC were bent on making up for last year’s defeat in the final to Iconz Australia when they were denied for a record fourth consecutive title, and showed the Aussies the exit in the semifinals when they defeated them 21-10.
Hong Kong Dragons, on the other hand had defeated Sabah Eagles 24-0 in the other semifinals to book their berth in the final.
Expectations were indeed running high going into the tournament for hosts Borneo Eagles, but they did not disappoint their club and fans as they powered to yet another Borneo Sevens victory.
Eagles were, however, pushed hard by a spirited Hong Kong Dragons side who led 14-12 at half-time.
Eagles, coached by former All Black Josh Van Lieshout, got the breakthrough when it mattered to run out 19-14 winners much to the delight of an adoring home crowd.
It was ERC’s Glen Dale Cook Cakutini who carried ERC with his two tries and a conversion which lifted his team.
Van Lieshout paid homage to his players, who delivered the victory.
“The second day in a tournament is always a big day, every game is important,” said Van Lieshout.
“Let’s be honest, it was a final – the best two teams in the competition played – and it was close. You could tell by the score, so credit to both teams
“We were just going to keep doing what we were doing (in earlier rounds) and focus on our defence. They had some big forwards, and we tried to cover their strategy.
“Obviously, I am very happy the boys won. If I get the opportunity to, I would definitely love to work with Eagles again in the future.”
The women’s cup final saw Japan’s Nagato Blue Angels living up to their title favourites status after comfortably downing Australian side Southern District 39-0.
The men’s champions pocketed US$10,000 (RM40,647) while the runners-up took home US$5,000 (RM20,323) for their efforts.
The women’s champions received US$4,000 (RM16,259) while the runners-up took home US$2,000 (RM8,129).
Both men’s (Rimau Sevens) and women’s (Panthera Ladies) national teams ended the competition as plate champions (5th place) after going out in the quarterfinal stage of the cup competition.
Rimau defeated Labuan’s Wipers Tsunami 17-14 while Panthera downed Sabah Eagles 24-12 in their respective place finals.
Iconz Australia 38 Rimau 7s Malaysia 0
Borneo Eagles Sandakan 33 Thailand 7s 5
Sabah Eagles 29 Belgium Barbarians 0
Hong Kong Dragon 43 Wipers Tsunami Labuan 0
Pearls Japan 44 Sabah Eagles 0
Southern District Australia 36 Lady Volcanoes Philippines 5
Hong Kong Dragon 43 Panthera Ladies Malaysia 0
Nagato Blues Angels 39 Singapore HPD 0
Iconz Australia 10 Borneo Eagles Sandakan 21
Sabah Eagles 0 Hong Kong Dragon 24
Pearls Japan 10 Southern District Australia 14
Hong Kong Dragon 7 Nagato Blues Angels 43
Men’s Shield Final (losers of Bowl semifinals)
Chinese Taipei 31 Wiper Hugo Labuan 0
Men’s Bowl Final
Zastava Russia 7 Caloundra Australia 0
Women’s Bowl Final
Lady Volcanoes Philippines 45 Singapore HPD 0
Men’s Plate Final
Rimau 7s Malaysia 17 Wiper Tsunami Labuan 14
Women’s Plate Final
Sabah Eagles 12 Panthera Ladies Malaysia 24
Men’s 3rd place:
Iconz Australia 45 Sabah Eagles 10
Women’s 3rd Place:
Pearls Japan 39 HK Dragon 0
Borneo Eagles Club Sandakan 19 Hong Kong Dragon 14
Southern District Australia 0 Nagato Blue Angels 39
Prize money structure
Men – Cup:
Champion USD 10k
Runner up USD 5
Semifinalists: USD 3.2k
Men – Plate :
Champion USD 1.5k
Runner up USD 750
Men – Bowl :
Champion USD 500
Runner up USD 250
Women – Cup :
Champion USD 4k
Runner up USD 2k
Women – Plate :
Champion USD 1k
Runner up USD 500