New Straits Times
Blitzboks power into Las Vegas Sevens semis
LOS ANGELES: South Africa, the defending champions and current World Rugby Sevens Series leaders, booked their semi-final spot at the Las Vegas Sevens on Saturday with a 29-17 victory over Australia.
The Blitzboks reached the quarter-finals unbeaten, wrapping up pool play early Saturday with a 24-19 victory over England.
In yesterday’s semi-finals at Sam Boyd Stadium they took on Argentina, 17-12 quarter-final winners over Kenya.
South Africa, whose run to the series title last season included a triumph in Las Vegas, are looking for another US victory to boost their series lead.
South Africa and Australia were level 12-12 at halftime, but South Africa dominated after the break with tries from Cecil Afrika, Ruhan Nel and Selvyn Davids before a late consolation score by Australia newcomer Jeral Skelton.
“We knew Australia were a quality side so we’re very happy with the performance tonight,” said South Africa captain Philip Snyman.
With their win over Kenya, Argentina also reached the semifinals unbeaten.
Fiji booked their semi-final berth with a dramatic 14-10 victory over New Zealand, setting up a semi-final meeting with the United States, who eliminated England 17-12.
Jerry Tuwai’s try after the siren lifted Fiji to the victory in a tense duel that saw New Zealand up 107 at halftime — an advantage they kept until the final play.
The Kiwis, second in the series standings coming into the weekend, had earlier downed Scotland 26-17 in their last pool match to book their quarter-final berth.
Fiji had topped Pool A despite falling 17-14 to Kenya in their last group match.
US coach Mike Friday was under no illusions as to the difficulty of the task awaiting his side against a Fijian side coming off a victory in the previous leg at Hamilton, which boosted them to third place in the series standings.
“We will need to be incredibly disciplined in defense to contain the Fijians ,” he said.