Text, Photos and Videos: World Rugby
Winning their second ever Cup final, the first in 2015 at the London Sevens, Mike Friday’s men thrilled the crowds and held opponents Argentina to a zero score line after another blockbuster day of rugby in Las Vegas.
USA, unbeaten in the weekend’s tournament, outplayed Fiji in the Cup semi-final 19-7 and faced stiff opposition in Argentina who also went into the game with a clean sheet and a well-worked 12-10 victory over South Africa. Eager to improve on last year’s Bronze finish in Vegas, USA secured a 28-0 victory with Perry Baker getting their first points on the board. Barrett’s first try followed and two successful conversions from Folau Niua gave the hosts a 14-0 halftime lead. Barrett added his second score straight out of the gates and after holding firm USA added a fourth and final try through Carlin Isles, Niua successfully kicking four from four to seal an emphatic victory at full time.
On a momentous day for USA Sevens, head coach Mike Friday said, “Credit to the men in the arena they were outstanding, they went out there and executed. They’ve executed all three days but especially today we had to change tactics for the Fiji semi we then had to readjust for the Final everyone delivered and that’s great to see. This is a total squad effort and I’m lucky to have such a great bunch of players and support staff.
“We want to show the sporting landscape in the USA what rugby can be and how that fits within the American landscape and this hopefully will touch and reach a lot of sports fans who realise they’ve got another national team that they can be proud of and that they can support.”
HSBC Player of the Final, Barrett added, ”It's such a team effort, we've worked so hard for so long. Three straight years in a semi-final in Las Vegas and to come here, missing our captain and missing a number of players, it's just so amazing to win on home soil. A second Cup final ever for the USA and it feels great to be at home."
It was day full of breath-taking action as Fiji, champions in New Zealand, beat South Africa 26-22 in the Bronze Final, whilst France secured the Challenge Trophy with a 26-19 win over Canada.