London Pumas, the Project Israel sponsored rugby union team, have won the Find Rugby Now 7’s competition – the most prestigious of the UK’s summer Rugby 7’s competitions.
Captain Sam Herrick led a fine team performance to win the Women’s Open Competition which was held at the London Wasps ground in Acton.
After sweeping aside a plucky Cage Rhinos team 44-0 in their opening group game, the Pumas lost their second match against tournament favourites Hampstead 20-5.
However, crushing wins though over Medway, Harlequins and FRN ensured second place in the group – and the chance to avenge the group stage loss in the final against a confident Hampstead side.
In the final, Sophie Tyler put the Pumas ahead before half-time, but after the break Hampstead scored two well-worked tries to lead 10-5 going into the final few minutes. The Pumas however kept up the pressure and excellent rucking by the forwards near the far touchline created space and sucked the Hampstead defenders in. With a minute to go on the clock, Project Israel Board member Laura Kapo broke through the Hampstead defence to score. Rebeccah de Filippo converted the try to give the Pumas a historic 12-10 victory and their first ever major trophy. At the team photos after, both the Union Jack and the Star of David flags were held aloft in the now traditional Pumas celebration.
Team manager Jon Feld said: “We played well and a big moment to win the competition especially as we had some injuries. Credit to our co coach Ellisha Dee for rolling on the subs at the right time as this ensured fresh legs”
Project Israel director Mark Lyons, who was present throughout the day, said: “What a performance. I was aware we had some good players pull out a few days before because of injuries so the squad on the day did very very well and got better and better as the day went on”.