Wellington Sevens: BlitzBoks to meet Fiji in Final
SEMIFINAL WRAP: South Africa will meet Fiji in the Final of the Wellington leg of the Sevens World Series.
The BlitzBoks, producing another fine defensive effort, eased to a 21-5 win over a physical Canadian team that was made to pay for over-reliance on their brutality.
SA will meet Fiji for the big prize, after the Pacific Islanders beat Scotland 19-12 in the first semifinal.
The Scots will have settle for the third-place play-off against Canada.
We look at all the semifinal action!
In the first Cup semifinal the first minute and a half Fiji did not touch the ball. A super positive start from Scotland saw them complete 15 passes to Fiji's zero.
First blood eventually went to Scotland. After more than two minutes of possession, Scotland were rewarded with a try. It was a lovely run from George Horne that cut Fiji open, but the Pacific Islanders fired back courtesy of Kalione Nasoko, after entering their opponents' 22 for the first time. After scoring their try, Nasoko is sent to the bin for a high tackle and Mark Robertson made him pay - 12-7 to Scotland at the break.
The second half was just as intense as the first, with both teams getting clear opportunities and also producing some desperate defence. The decisive moment in the game was when Scotland gifted Fiji possession with a forward pass with fewer than three minutes remaining. Alivereti Veitokani picked up the ball and Jamie Farndale mistimed his tackle, which allows Veitokani to level the scores. Osea Kolinisau converted for the lead. Joeli Lutumailagi then sealed the win with a fourth try.
South Africa made Canada pay for an early mistake - a spilled pass picked up and Seabelo Senatla sprinting 70 metres for the opening score, equalling the BlitzBoks' all-time try-scoring record of .
The BlirtzBoks' second try came right at the end of the first half - a period of sustained defence pressure forced Canada into another mistake and this time Albertus Smith picked up the ball and sprinted 20-odd metres for the score - 14-0 at the break.
It was yet another Canadian mistake - illegally flopping on trhe ball at a ruck - that saw Werner Kock sprint 80 metres for SA's third try soon after the restart. Canada eventually got on the board 90 seconds from full-time - Adam Zaruba finishing off a fine team try. The BlitzBoks eased into the Final with a 21-5 victory.
Scotland 12-19 Fiji
Canada 5-21 South Africa
Locals will tell you it is a glimpse of New Zealand's future, after 18-year-old Vilimoni Koroi beat England sweeper Tom Mitchell and set up his captain Scott Curry to break the deadlock. A lovely floated pass by Koroi cut out Sherwin Stowers and found Regan Ware right on the money. With Dylan Collier dragging two defenders inside, Ware had an untroubled run to the line - 12-0 to the hosts at half-time.
It was a numbers as the second half started. A long pass found Iopu Iopu-Aso and he was across in the corner. A thumping DJ Forbes tackle win a turnover and Vilimoni Koroi threw a lovely pass to Sherwin Stowers, who sealed the win with a fourth try inside the last minute.
Luciano Gonzalez Rizzoni displayed some fancy footwork to jink inside and out, landing his third try of the weekend - as Argentina took an early lead in the second fifth place play-off match. France, who were scoreless in their Cup quarterfinal defeat to South Africa, then hit back twice - as Stephen Parez picked up a desperate offload to ground his third try of the weekend, before Sacha Valleau scored another five-pointer.
Argentina's 19-year-old star Luciano Gonzalez Rizzoni scored a second with more deft footwork that left France's Stephen Parez bamboozled on the floor. The Los Pumas Sevens made twice as many tackles as France in this contest and will battle with New Zealand for fifth place.
England 0-24 New Zealand
Argentina 19-14 France
Challenge Trophy semifinals
In the first Challenge Trophy semifinal Kenya's Daniel Sikuta fended off a tackle to open the scoring against the United Stares. The USA Sevens Eagles struck back, as speedster Perry Baker, so smooth across the field and with exceptional balance, tore up the grass in front of him and rocketed in under the posts. Billy Odhiambo brought up his 60th Sevens Series try despite a last-ditch effort by Danny Barrett to stop him, and the powerful Kenya No.5 was too quick for the USA defence again as he goes over for his fifth try of the weekend. Kenya eventually advanced to the Challenge Trophy Final with a 19-12 win.
In the second semifinal captain Sam Myers had a nice free run-in to dot down his 40th Sevens Series career try, as Andy Friend's Australian side raced out the starting blocks against Wales. Australia's 18-year-old debutant Tate McDermott scored his second try of the weekend after another fast Australian move. Charlie Taylor turned on the gas on the flank after more good work by McDermott. Despite two late tries there was no coming back for Wales and Australia will meet Kenya in the Challenge Trophy Final.
Kenya 19-12 United States
Wales 10-24 Australia
Russia were rewarded for some good, accurate passing and showed how destructive they can be with the ball in hand if you give them too much space. Ivan Kotov broke the deadlock and Roman Roshchin punished some slack Japanese defending. Ivan Kotov went over again for Russia, before a proud personal moment for Honeti Taumohaapai, who demonstrated excellent handling to juggle the ball under control and land his first-ever Sevens Series try. It's a first win of the weekend for Russia, though, who will contest the 13th place play-off.
The second 13th-place play-off between Papa New Guinea and Samoa saw Tofatu Solia bag a brace inside the first two and a half minutes. He was too big, too powerful and got a full head of steam on both occasions to roar his men into a 14-0 lead. Lafaele Vaa scored a third - his 18th Sevens Series try. Freddy Rova scored his first-ever Sevens Series try, on debut, as Samoa took a 28-7 lead into the break. Samoa made sure they will continue to contest 13th place play-off with Russia, following a clinical dispatching of Papa New Guinea.
Russia 15-5 Japan
Papua New Guinea 7-35 Samoa