Spain's rugby sevens side notched up an historic achievement at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament this weekend, finishing as runners up to Canada and securing themselves one of the three available places in next year's sevens World Series.
José Ignacio 'Tiki' Inchausti's men made it to the final after beating Japan 17-12 in sudden death extra time in the semi-final. Spain led 5-0 at half time thanks to a try by captain Pablo Feijoo. After the break, Ignacio Martín scored a try, converted by César Sempere, to stretch the Leones' lead to 12-0. However, Japan managed to level the scores and force extra time. Pedro Martín was the hero for Spain, crossing the line and taking his side into the final and making sure of their ticket to next year's World Series, where they will be up against the likes of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and England.
The Spanish team played a solid tournament, beating Zimbabwe and the Philippines in the group stage, falling only to eventual winners, Canada, both in the groups stage and again in the final.
Perhaps the key match was the convincing, if unexpected win over another of the tournament favourites, Tonga, in the knock-out stage. Tries by César Sempere - with a spectacular return to rugby sevens after a two-year absence - Pablo Feijoo and Carlos Blanco proved too much for the island nation, whose side only managed to make it over the Spanish try line once in the match.
Despite losing again to Canada in the final, Spain can now look forward to the upcoming Glasgow and London Sevens in May, which will give them a taste of what to expect next season.
Final: Spain 5-22 Canada
Semi-final: Spain 17-12 Japan
Quarter-final: Spain 19-7 Tonga
Group E: Spain 7-10 Canada
Group E: Spain 21-5 Philipppines
Group E: Spain 19-5 Zimbabwe
1. Canada (Classified for 2013 World Series)
2. Spain (Classified for 2013 World Series)
3. Portugal (Classified for 2013 World Series)
8. Hong Kong