Wellington Sevens: BlitzBoks cruise into semifinals
QUARTERFINAL WRAP: South Africa cruised into the semifinals at the Wellington leg of the Sevens World Series on Sunday.
The BlitzBoks made light work of their quarterfinal, easing to 45-0 victory over a hopelessly outclassed French team.
They will meet Canada in the semifinal, after the latter beat Argentina 17-12 in their quarterfinal.
The other semifinal will be between Scotland and Fiji - after they beat England (14-12) and New Zealand (26-10) respectively.
It was an exciting start to proceedings in Wellington in Day Two, as Kenya ran in four tries against Russia and the United States booked their place in the Challenge Trophy semifinals with a 19-14 win against Japan. Sam Cross bagged a brace as Wales saw off Papa New Guinea and Australia defeated winless Samoa.
We look at all the quarterfinal action!
Dan Norton's first touch of the ball on Day Two ended in a try for England against SWcxotland, as he sauntered to the line after evading Mark Robertson's last-ditch attempt to stop him. Lovely footwork from Jamie Farndale, who skipped past Ruaridh McConnochie, gave Scotland their first try of the day and Scott Wight's conversion levelled the scores. There was more joy for the Scots as Gavin Lowe bamboozled England with his footwork before landing his fourth try of the weekend - giving the Scots a 14-7 lead at the break.
An unbelievable try-saving tackle by James Fleming denied England's Phil Burgess in the corner. Burgess had clear grass to run into, but he could smell Fleming hounding him down and the Scot tackled Burgess to the floor just as he looked like he might have the legs to narrow the deficit. With the clock in the red zone, Oliver Lindsay-Hague scored a dramatic try to give England hope. Simon Amor's side decided against kicking the conversion in the windy Wellington conditions, but the kick-off did not reach the 10-metre mark and Scotland progressed to the semifinals to stay in the hunt for gold.
In the second of the Cup quarterfinals, New Zealand's Sione Molia was caught flat-footed, as Joeli Lutumailagi got his legs pumping for the line to put his country ahead. Lutumailagi then added a second, which meant he moved to the top of the Wellington Sevens try-scoring charts - with his sixth of the weekend. Jerry Tuwai added a third, before DJ Forbes used his strength to take it over the line - despite brave pressure from Osea Kolinisau - to land New Zealand's first blow. There was a 14-point gap (19-5) at half-time.
A string of errors cost New Zealand dearly, as they butchered several chances just metres from the Fijian line. Jerry Tuwai, who was magnificent, put on the breaks and popped it up for Jasa Veremalua to put the game the Kiwis' reach. New Zealand's three-year winning run in Wellington has been halted by a fantastic Fiji, despite a late consolation try from Tim Mikkelson.
In the encounter between Canada and Argentina it was a tight and considered opening half, with the South Americans reduced to six men late in the first half - the result of repeated infringements by one of Argentinas most effective talents, Matias Osadczuk. Canada's dominance were eventually rewarded as Nathan Hirayama's Hollywood pass picked out Adam Zaruba in the last minute of the half before Nicolas Menéndez hit back - giving the South Americans a 7-5 lead at the break.
The pendulum kept swinging in this end-to-end contest - as Mike Fuailefau struck for Canada, before replacement Jose Barros Sosa scored as the lead changed hands for the fourth time. Pat Kay took the ball to the line and the flying Justin Douglas put his side in front again. Canada hung on for a famous win (17-12) and they are into the last four.
The final Cup quarterfinal between the star-studded South African side and France had action from the outset - a first-minute try by Justin Geduld. France were stuck inside their own 22 and Branco du Preez stretched the BlitzBoks' lead. Geduld got a second as South Africa took a commanding 19-0 lead into the break.
A sublime kick-and-chase by Seabelo Senatla straight after the restart saw that become a 26-0 advantage. That soon became 33-0, as Senatla used his pace, after being put into a huge hole, to beat the cover defence. Siviwe Soyizwapi scored the sixth and Ruhan Nel the seventh, as the BitzBoks made light work of this quarterfinal and cruised to a 45-0 in.
England 12-14 Scotland
New Zealand 10-26 Fiji
Canada 17-12 Argentina
South Africa 45-0 France
Challenge Trophy quarterfinals
In the first match of the day tries by William Ambaka, Billy Odhiambo and Samuel Oliech saw Kenya race into a 17-0 lead against Russia. The second half was more evenly contested, one try each. However, the Africans always had enough in the tank to hold out Russia - winning 24-5.
In the second match America scored first and last against Japan, although the Japanese held the lead for a while. Despite being reduces to six men in the latter stages and pinned deep inside their 22-metre area, the Yanks held on.
Arthur Clement scored early to give Papua New Guinea a 7-0 lead against Wales. However, they managed to hold on for about four minutes, before Morgan Williams scored the opening try for Wales - which finished in a 29-7 rout.
Henry Hutchison opened the scoring for Australia against Samoa, but Alamanda Motuga and Tila Mealoi gave the Pacific Islanders the lead, before Charles Taylor pulled one back right on half-time. Taylor opened the second-half scoring, as the Aussies reclaimed the lead. Laaloi Leilual was then sin-binned for a high tackle and Joe Perez for a shoulder charge, as the Aussies held on for a 17-14 win.
Kenya 24-5 Russia
United States 19-14 Japan
Wales 29-7 Papua New Guinea
Australia 17-14 Samoa