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Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Saturday, 7 March 2009

Wales crowned World Sevens champs

Coach hails Wales Sevens glory

Wales held off Argentina to win the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai 19-12.

The Pumas had beaten Wales in the Pool stage, but the men in red took control of the final as Richie Pugh broke through for a try within two minutes.

Martin Rodriguez seized on a Wales mistake to put Argentina ahead, but Tal Selley's break restored Wales' lead.

The Pumas levelled when Gonzalo Camacho took a cross-field kick to score, but Aled Thomas broke through a minute from full time to seal a famous victory.

Wales had overcome Samoa 19-12 in the semi-finals, while Argentina had ended the hopes of Kenya 12-0.

"This is amazing, it's going to take a while to sink in," said Wales captain Lee Beach.

"I can't describe it. The boys have come a long way over the last three years.

"Things clicked in Wellington when we beat New Zealand and we continued that form here.

Wales celebrate their world title after beating Argentina in the final
Our boys have been phenomenal and played some cracking Sevens so it is thoroughly deserved

Wales coach Paul John

"When the going got tough in the semi against Samoa, we just said this is a semi-final of the World Cup - that was motivation enough. And we did likewise in the final."

Wales coach Paul John added: "This achievement is quite unbelievable. We knew when we beat New Zealand this morning, anything was possible.

"Our boys have been phenomenal and played some cracking Sevens so it is thoroughly deserved."

Aled Brew and Selley tries had given Wales a 12-5 half-time lead in their semi against Samoa as Alafoti Faosiliva replied for the Pacific Islanders.

Tom Isaacs, the late try hero in the 15-14 quarter-final win over New Zealand, ensured Wales advanced 19-5.

Samoa had knocked out England, with the Pumas downing South Africa and Kenya humbling defending champions Fiji.

Wales had finished second in Pool F after losing their decider 14-0 against Argentina on Friday.

But Wales qualified for a Cup quarter-final spot as one of the two best runners-up, thanks to a 31-5 win against Zimbabwe and a 27-0 victory over Uruguay.

That saw them paired against big guns New Zealand in the first of the Cup quarter-finals.

Zar Lawrence gave New Zealand the lead but Wales hit back with tries from Lee Williams and Pugh.

The Kiwis looked like they had wrapped it up when Lote Raikabula went over, before Isaacs hacked on a loose ball and raced through to touch down in the final minute for a shock 15-14 victory.

In the inaugural women's World Cup Sevens tournament in Dubai, Australia beat New Zealand 15-10 to clinch the title.

England's women, who were ranked number one in the world after winning their last six tournaments, also crashed out at the quarter-final stage with a 17-10 defeat to Australia.

Wales Sevens squad:

Lee Beach (Neath, capt), Rhodri McAtee (Cornish Pirates), Lee Williams (Scarlets), Tom Isaacs (Newport), Aled Thomas (London Welsh), James Merriman (unattached), Tal Selley (Dragons), Aled Brew (Dragons), Craig Hill (Newport), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Richie Pugh (Exeter Chiefs), Dafydd Hewitt (Blues).

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see also
England suffer dramatic Cup loss
07 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland win Sevens Plate final
07 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Scots Sevens set for World Cup
02 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
England hit form in Dubai Sevens
05 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
England stun NZ in Sevens triumph
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
World Cup Sevens plans announced
16 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union

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