Samurai Win 2014 GB7s Crown

Samurai were crowned 2014 GB7s champions, edging out Scottish Thistles by just three points at the end of a scintillating series.

Apart from losing out to Wailers in the Eirias Park final, it was a perfect day for the invitation side combining youth, pace and experience.

Head coach Mike Friday said: “It’s great to win for a second year.

“Once again we have shown great consistency while developing more players from Scotland, Wales and England keeping us true to our philosophy of bringing players on.

“We have also helped the likes of Italy and Spain with some of their players – and we have helped Carlin Isles, who may be the fastest man in rugby but who still has so much to learn. That is what being part of the Samurai family is about, being given the support but then paying that back with a good work ethic and consistency.

“We have fallen short in two of the tournaments by not winning them and finishing runners-up and that is tough to take for us because we want to win everything.

“But we can’t take anything away from the other teams because it has been a really tough series. The difference between the eight times this year is really small and that is testament to the other teams, particularly Thistles, England and Wales who have used the event to develop their young players.

“It gets harder each year because as we continue to develop players, they then go off to play for England, Scotland and Wales. But that is half the fun. We are a true invitation team that brings players together from different nations and puts them in an environment to learn.”

Samurai veteran Simon Hunt collected the winner’s trophy from Wales skipper Sam Warburton only to reveal that the final could be his last Sevens outing.

“It’s quite an honour for me to be captain and nice to pick up a trophy,” the former England Sevens star said. “But I am hanging up my boots as I am getting too old for chasing these youngsters around.

“We came here to win the series and we have done just that, it would have been nice to win the round but the series was the focus.

“All the teams have got so much better – in previous years there were only three or four teams in the mix but this weekend everybody has been beating each other so it has been a great advert for rugby Sevens.”

USA Sevens star Isles ran in two tries in the final, his searing pace ensuring he is sure to be one of the hottest properties in Sevens. But that wasn’t enough to deny Wailers the honours on the day, running out 21-14 winners thanks to tries from Ben Frankland, Hamish Smales and Taylor Prell.

Scottish Thistles took third place on the day after winning their play-off match with the Army 24-17 – and that was enough to wrap up second-place in the overall standings.

Apache beat home favourites Crawshays Welsh 31-12 in the plate final and they also had the day’s leading scorer in Sam Bellhouse who ran in ten tries including three hat-tricks.

That feat also took Bellhouse level with Wailers’ Dan Rundle at the head of the all-time list of scorers.