There were only two spots up for grabs for Cape Town, so Chile, after beating favourites Brazil 21-14 in the last attack of an intense, draining semi-final, will fly to South Africa’s Mother City for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022, to be played 9-11 September.
Uruguay will accompany them, having secured an easier passage to qualification, beating Peru 47-0 at the fabulous Estadio Nacional in San José, Costa Rica’s capital city. Los Teros would then beat Chile in the final to become regional sevens champions.
Sudamérica Rugby have now confirmed their four teams as the women from Brazil – who put in a sensational performance this weekend in Dubai – and Colombia secured their tickets earlier this month. Los Pumas had already qualified.
The gap between the three high-performing countries and their counterparts in the region proved too big as the former went about beating the other South and Central American teams. The first game that could have gone both ways was when Uruguay and Chile met in pool play to close the opening round.
With nine teams participating, four from South America and five from Central America, three pools provided a ranking, followed by a second pool phase, leading into the final positioning games.
Brazil, featuring many stars from their 15s programme and Olympic team, stormed the opening day, beating Panama 71-0 thanks to six tries from Lucas Müller, Guatemala 80-0 in a twelve try spree, and the local side, the Costa Rican Guairas, 54-0. They beat Peru 41-0 to secure a semi-final place that left them 14 minutes away from Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022.
Uruguay were also efficient, beating Nicaragua 66-0 and Costa Rica 48-0 to lead their pool. With Chile beating El Salvador, they were left to face Los Teros.
Uruguay, led by the evergreen Guillermo Lietjenstein, secured a 15-0 win, with a try from newly capped Mateo Viñals in the first half and then two from Francisco Berchesi. The win ensured they would avoid Brazil in the semi-finals, meaning a potentially easier route to South Africa.
With the three teams winning their next round of games, Brazil opened the first semi-final with the same flair seen in their earlier games, with forward Roberto Tenorio attacking the outside for the opening try. Soon after, Felipe Sancery attacked straight at the defence for an early 14-0.
Chile struggled in the opening half but kept their composure to turn around the game. When Os Tupis were briefly down to six, Diego Warnken scored under the posts. In the final minute, Vicente Urbina managed to break through the solid Brazilian defence and with Luca Strabucchi's second conversion it seemed that the passage to Cape Town would be defined in overtime and sudden death.
There was sufficient time for one last kick-off, 14 seconds from the end, and the high ball was tapped by Cristóbal Game into Ernesto Tcimino's arms, who ran the ball and his team all the way to Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022, securing the 21-14 win.
Uruguay beat Peru with a 47-0 win to secure second place in the South American standings.
The Brazilian Tupis beat Peru 47-0 in a similar fashion to their earlier game against Los Tumis to finish third and the local Guairas fulfilled their goal of finishing top of the Central American teams, securing fifth place by beating Guatemala 15-12
Uruguay enjoyed a double celebration with their 21-0 win over Chile in the final. Mateo Viñals managed a first half hat trick, showing the speed that took him to his first cap a few days ago, securing the tournament MVP in the process. Left-footed Lietjenstein added the three conversions, including one from the left touch to secure an unassailable lead.
Both Uruguay and Chile will look to repeat their success from this weekend when they head to Cape Town in 2022 alongside already qualified Argentina.