5 November 2017, Singapore – The France Development Team playing in its first
tournament together as a team, upset hot favourites and six-time champion
Daveta from Fiji 24-21 to win the Ablitt Cup with a dramatic sudden-death
penalty at the 70th Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens.
The young French side comprising of players mostly below 23 years old were
up against an experienced Daveta side and it was the Fijians who raced into
an early 7-0 lead through a converted try from Daveta captain Sakiusa
Gavidi. However the France Development Team led by diminutive captain Thomas
Hecquet stepped up their game and scored three converted tries in quick
succession to end the first half with a well deserved 21-7 lead. The
20-year-old French captain ran the Daveta defense ragged and scored the
first two tries for his side before teammate Gabin Viliere added a third
just before the break.
Roared on by the packed galleries, crowd favorite Daveta began to show
their flair and power to narrow the score down to 14-21 through speedster
Lemeki Tulele in the second half. The French side then lost their
influential captain Hecquet to injury while Viliere was sent to the sin bin.
Playing with one extra man advantage, Daveta managed to tie the scores at
21-21 seconds before the final whistle through Tulele.
The Ablitt Cup final went into extra time and the French side soon earned a
penalty outside the Daveta 22 just forty seconds in. Romaric Camou became an
instant French hero when he calmly converted the winning golden score¹
the penalty from 25 meters.
³It was a tough final and we were the underdogs against a strong and
experienced Daveta side,² said 20-year-old Hecquet. ³We played very well in
the first half to take the lead after an early mistake. In the second half,
we had a player sent off and it allowed the Fijians to come back to tie the
game. I know some spectators would have preferred that we scored a winning
try instead of a winning penalty, but it’s the final and we have worked hard
to win this tournament. This is a big win for a very young team playing in
its first tournament.
Daveta, who was hunting for its seventh Ablitt Cup, had eased in the final
after beating Tribe 7 14-12 in the semifinals and Japan¹s Tamariva 54-0 in
the quarterfinals. The France Development Team meanwhile cruised past
Australian sides Casaurina Cougars 26-7 and Palmyra 33-5 en route to the
³We are disappointed to lose by a sudden-death penalty kick, but credit to
the France Development Team for their strong performance,² said captain
Sakiusa Gavidi. ³Daveta will definitely be back again next year. Personally,
I wanted to complete a hat-trick of titles this year, having won here in
2011 and 2012, but it was not to be. We will come back stronger next year.²
Before the dramatic Ablitt Cup final, East Arnhem beat Singapore Barbarians
26-24 to win the Bowl final after the Singapore side failed to convert a
last second try. Cottesloe claimed the Plate after beating host side
Singapore Cricket Club 19-14 while Casaurina Cougars beat the Swedish Viking
21-19 to lift the Shield.
Meantime, St. Andrews Secondary dominated the Schools Under 14 final to lift
the Lens Foster trophy crushing their perennial rivals ACS Independent 36-5.
Tanglin Trust School clinched a Œdouble¹ winning both the Under 16 (19-7)
and Under 19 finals (22-21) over United World College
The 70th SCC Sevens lived up to its billing as the ŒFriendly Sevens¹ as over
10,000 spectators enjoyed three days of world-class rugby, a child-friendly
Fun Zone and the obvious crowd-favorite, the Guinness Bar, which ran the
entire length of the field, making it the longest in the region.
Detailed results are available at www.sccrugbysevens.com/tournament-2017