NZ, Australia, Fiji into semis at World Cup Sevens
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — New Zealand, Australia and Fiji survived scares to make the semifinals at the Rugby World Cup Sevens on Saturday.
Host South Africa didn’t and was dumped out in the quarterfinals 24-14 by Ireland in a big upset.
New Zealand outlasted Argentina 12-5 to reach the last four in Cape Town and a third straight World Cup title for the Kiwis is still on.
Australia found its way through a tricky encounter against France 14-5 and Fiji won the Pacific Islands clash against Samoa 21-10.
New Zealand plays Ireland in Sunday’s semis and Australia is up against Fiji.
New Zealand was behind early against Argentina when Matias Osadczuk sent a pass out the back of his hand for German Schulz’s opening try. Scott Curry went in between the posts in reply and New Zealand converted for a 7-5 lead.
Argentina pressed again in the second half but the defining moment came when Moses Leo broke from deep inside New Zealand’s half and skipped clear of five attempted tackles to make it 12-5. Argentina knocked on 10 meters from New Zealand’s line in the last play as the Pumas sought a tying score.
There was a strange incident when New Zealand captain Sam Dickson clashed heads with the referee and both were left bleeding from cuts. The ref was replaced.
Australia also had to dig deep against the French, with Maurice Longbottom’s solo try with five minutes to go, which he converted, sealing it 14-5 for the current world series champion.
A Fiji error let Steve Onosai kick ahead and score the first try for Samoa. The Fijians, the reigning Olympic champions, replied convincingly with scores from Jerry Tuwai, Sevuloni Mocenacagi and Kaminieli Rasaku to make the last four and keep alive hopes of a first World Cup title since 2005.
Ireland’s Mark Roche went over untouched from close range for the first score against the host team. South Africa was level at 7-7 at halftime, but the Irish swarmed on every mistake the Blitzboks made and went over for three more tries, two of them by Jordan Conroy. The convincing 24-14 win took Ireland into the semifinals for the first time since the inaugural World Cup Sevens in 1993.
Title favorite Australia made the semis of the women’s competition by beating England 35-5. Australia’s lightning-quick back Faith Nathan collected a hat trick to take her try tally to eight in two games at this World Cup.
New Zealand’s women swept aside Ireland 28-0 and an expected Australia-New Zealand final is on the cards for the women’s title. New Zealand plays France in the semifinals. Australia faces the United States.
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