Daveta retained their Limerick World Club Se7ens title at Thomond Park but Connacht captain Shane Layden believes his side’s future is bright after they walked away with the Irish bragging rights.
This was the first year all four Irishprovinces were involved and Connachtfinished a creditable third at the festival of rugby, Munster made it to the Plate final and Leinster beat Ulster in the Shield final.
Having qualified for the Cup quarter-finals from Pool C, Connacht faced in-form New York but Nate Augspurger’s last-gasp conversion hit the post to hand the Irish outfit a 21-19 win. They followed with a 26-0 loss to eventual champions Daveta in the semis but bounced back to hold off South African team Golden Lions 21-14 in the third place play-off. And Layden claims it was the resilience shown by the young squad that left him most pleased.
“I don’t think many expected us to come third but we showed character in that last game It’s brilliant to be the best Irishprovince – it’s always competitive between us and for Connacht to get one up before the season starts sends us home happy,” he said.
Fijian side Daveta looked imperious all weekend and having brushed aside Munster in the quarter-finals, beat Connacht in the last four before holding off a second-half comeback from invitational touring side Samurai 7s in the final to prevail 19-17.
Munster brushed off the Daveta Cup quarter-final defeat to overcome New York 33-10 and reach the Plate final, much to the delight of a partisan home crowd. A pair of Alan Bennie tries helped them into 19-7 lead over Buenos Aires in the decider but the Argentines responded to triumph 43-19 although Munster’s Tomas Quinlan insisted it had still been a great learning opportunity.
“The last match didn’t go to plan, we started well but they ended up coming back and beating us, which was disappointing but it was still a good experience,” he said.