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.

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