Brazilian dominance in South American rugby sevens continued as they claimed their 19th title at the Carrasco Polo Club, Montevideo, Uruguay.
They beat Colombia 36-5 with the same level of conviction that marked their performances throughout the whole tournament.
By winning their semifinals, both teams have already booked their tickets for Rugby World Cup Sevens playing in Cape Town from September 9 to September 11 next year.
As Yaras were the dominant force, scoring 264 points and only conceding 35, with the Unstoppable Bianca Silva chosen as tournament MVP, and her fellow speedster Thalia Costa, the top scorer. Their job was made easier by a very complete team.
The South American representatives in the last two Olympic Games, every Rugby World Cup Sevens and at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series used their group games to find their rhythm.
After four consecutive pool wins, they faced Paraguay, their rivals in last year’s final, for the place in the next World Cup.
Doubts about who would travel to South Africa’s Mother City were soon put aside; Brazil took a first half 27-0 lead, finishing with a conclusive 57-0 win that included a double hat-trick from Costa and Silva.
Colombia came up the other half of the bracket, needing to work very hard to secure their place at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022. Las Tucanes, the only other team to win a Sudamérica Rugby Sevens – in 2015, a Rio 2016 qualifying tournament in which Brazil did not play – achieved hard-fought wins over Chile (15-10) and Peru (17-0) before closing the opening day with a big 63-0 win against Panama.
Their pool fixtures ended with a 10-5 win against Paraguay, ensuring they topped the pool and avoided Brazil in the semifinals.
The nerve-wracking end against the Yacarés was a walk in the park compared to the game against the recently named Yaguaretés from Argentina.
Sofía González opened the score with a converted try as Colombia were unable to find their flow in the opening half of the second semifinal. When they did, experienced María Camila Lopera managed to break the line and score an unconverted try.
González repeated her earlier feat at the start of the second half, as Argentina went 14-5 up.
Leidy Soto, another Unstoppable, crossed with Laura Mejía Diosa to go under the posts, a try Valentina Tapia failed to convert.
With the clock ticking, Diosa’s hunger and determination put her in the corner.
There was still time for the game to reset, which Colombia fumbled, kicking directly into touch. Las Yaguaretés soon lost the ball in the last attack.
Argentina would finish in third place, having beaten the Paraguayans 24-5 whilst home side Uruguay beat Chile 17-12 to celebrate a confidence building performance throughout the tournament.
Seventh place went to Peru after their 38-5 win against Costa Rica. And for ninth, Guatemala celebrated their only win, 37-0 against Panamá.
Convincing final performance
The final confirmed Brazil as the team to beat, dominating from the start, as experienced Raquel Kochhan found a gap in the Colombian defence to send Thalia Costa for the game’s first try.
Two minutes later, with the right touchline close by, Silva and Costa exchanged passes for Costa’s second.
Mariana Nicolau scored the third, recovering a loose ball in Colombia’s territory.
Costa's hat-trick came from a similar situation; before the end of the first half, and as Colombia was down to six players, Silva stretched the lead to 29-0.
The second half was a much quieter affair, with the same level of control. Izzy Cerrullo broke the line close to her try-line and ran 70 metres before passing to Marcelle Souza for Brazil’s final converted try.
Leidy Soto, the best Colombian player in the tournament, broke the Brazilian defense with two minutes to play; by then, the winner was assured.
Brazilian coach William Broderick applauded the process that led to this double celebration. “The semi-finals were the first time we could really do on the field of play what we’d practiced every day".
“We had twelve players here, but there are 24 that work hard in São Paulo. This process is not new, it is something that started five years ago".