Singapore 7s: BlitzBoks fall in quarterfinals
WORLD SERIES: For the first time this season South Africa will not be playing in the Cup semifinals of a World Series tournament.
In a drama-packed Day Two at the Singapore leg of Sevens World Series, Round Eight, the BlitzBoks, Fiji and New Zealand were all knocked out in the quarterfinals.
Olympic champions Fiji were shocked by the United States, Australia upstaged the BlitzBoks and Nate Hirayama inspired Canada to a surprise win against New Zealand.
England came back with a late penalty to edge Kenya in injury time - the only top four team on the World Series standings to advance to semifinals.
Scotland defeated Hong Kong and France were narrow winners over Argentina in the Challenge Trophy quarterfinals. Wales dealt Russia a 19-12 defeat and Samoa saw off Japan.
There was a super start from the United States, who showed great composure to send it through the hands and Danny Barrett picked out his forward partner Ben Pinkelman who struck the first blow. It took Fiji three minutes to complete their first pass, but once they got they get their hands on the ball, their leading try scorer Waisea Nacuqu strolled in for his seventh of the weekend.
The United States worked it from left to right and Stephen Tomasin ripped away to land his fourth of the weekend. Fiji had only passed the ball once by the time the referee blew for half-time, after Madison Hughes sent his conversion sailing through the posts.
Fiji were defending resolutely and made a couple of staunch efforts to deny the USA, but Mike Friday's men kept the ball so well that there was just wave after wave of American attacks. There was a huge moment in the match when Stephen Tomasin takes his country's lead out to 10 points with his 20th five-pointer of the season. At that point, the pass stats showed total USA domination: USA 55 passes to Fiji one!
Then Ben Pinkelman went over for his second. The Americans came with a plan and have executed it perfectly. Josua Vici and Isake Katonibau reduced the deficit for Fiji, but it was not be enough. The Pacific Islanders will miss out on a top-four finish after their success in Hong Kong last week, but hats off to USA who looked in fine form.
There was a magical start for South Africa in the second Cup quarterfinal - as Philip Snyman dragged Lachie Anderson out of position and Siviwe Soyizwapi exploited the gap with his blistering speed. He scored five on Saturday and started his day with another.
The Australians spilled the ball on the line and Cecil Afrika made them pay after quick thinking by Chris Dry. But the Australians responded well with some direct play that was finished in the corner by a fourth of the weekend from Simon Kennewell.
Australia spilt the ball from the kick-off at the start of the second half and they have not touched it since. The South Africans were camped in their half and it was a case of energy-sapping defending for Andy Friend's side. Eventually, the BlitzBoks broke through again as the strong and determined Philip Snyman jinked his way through after some simple switch play.
Tom Lucas injected some life back into this Australian offensive effort with a minute on the clock. They needed converted try to win it. Liam McNamara went through the gap and offloaded for Lachie Anderson and he got in! What a response from the Australians.
The conversion from Lucas was a simple one and Andy Friend's side went through!
Canada struck the first blow against New Zealand, courtesy of Nate Hirayama, but the Kiwis hit back when Regan Ware went in on the angle to land an easy five-pointer.
A stonking first-half effort from the North Americans meant Canada lead 19-7 at the break - after Mike Fuailefau received a pass from John Moonlight to dot down their third five-pointer.
The New Zealanders completed just four passes in the first half as the men in red absolutely dominated the ball.
But Nathan Hirayama took his total for the match to 21, after getting the better of the Kiwis' tired-looking defence and the North Americans celebrated success.
It was been a high-intensity, lung-busting opening in the fourth Cup quarterfinal, as Samuel Oliech went on a 90-metre stroll to the line after skipping through Oliver Lindsay-Hague's tackle. It was a gem of a try and Kenya had the jump on England.
There were more problems for Simon Amor's side as James Rodwell was shown a yellow card and Frank Wanyama landed his third of the weekend, after England left the blindside open after the breakdown.
Phil Burgess is an absolute warrior for England and he brought his country back into the quarterfinal with his 50th career try. He was running at a 45-degree angle with the ball in two hands and fended away the challenges to dot down.
There was some great composure after the turnover ball from Dan Bibby, and Dan Norton changed direction on the outside and reached out for the line. You could see the determination written all over Norton's face. Bibby hooked his conversion and Kenya held a two-point lead.
Kenya kicked deep from the restart and England had to go coast to coast. They worked up to just 15 metres out and won the penalty. Dan Bibby kicked the penalty and won it for his team.
Fiji 19-24 United States
Australia 19-17 South Africa
New Zealand 14-26 Canada
England 13-12 Kenya
Challenge Trophy quarterfinals
The Challenge Trophy quarterfinals kicked off Day Two at the Singapore Sevens with some belting entertainment.
Four-try superstar Mark Robertson inspired Scotland to victory over Hong Kong, before France came out victors in a nail-biter against Argentina.
A brace from German Davydov was not enough for Russia, who lost 12-19 to Wales.
Hong Kong 15-26 Scotland
Argentina 24-26 France
Wales 19-12 Russia
Japan 14-26 Samoa