London7s: Norton sinks Blitzboks again

Sun, 21 May 2017 11:12
Large dan norton england 7s celebrates 800

QUARTERFINAL WRAP: A Dan Norton try in the final play of the match sealed a narrow 17-12 victory over Series winners South Africa.

South Africa had built up a 12-5 lead heading into the final four minutes but conceded two tries, one converted, to see their chances of adding the London Sevens title to their impressive season go up in smoke.

England will face Canada, who saw off Argentina, in the Cup semifinals while the other semifinal will be contested by USA and Scotland after they saw off Australia and New Zealand, respectively.

In the Challenge Cup,  Kenya, Fiji, Wales and France progressed to the semifinals after they claimed victories over Spain, Russia, Samoa and Japan, respectively. That latter now moves into the semifinals for the lower positions.

Cup quarterfinals

Argentina 7-28 Canada

Canada made the early in-road when they opened the scoring in the opening minute with a converted try. They doubled their lead in the fourth minute with a second converted try before Argentina got themselves on the board just before the half-time break when they added a seven-pointer to trail 7-14 at the break.

Canada extended their lead to 21-7 early in the second half before extended that lead to 28-7 with three minutes to play. Argentina did all they could to work their way back into the game but Canada managed to keep them at bay to claim the victory.

England 17-12 South Africa

Dan Norton got the opening try of the match when he raced away in the opening two minutes to put the tournament hosts ahead. The conversion went unconverted and proved a crucial miss in the context of the first half.

Some Rosco Specman magic in the closing stages paved the way for Chris Dry to go over and score under the uprights during the final play of the half. Branco du Preez added the conversion to hand the Series winners a 7-5 lead at the break.

Werner Kok hit England with a breakaway try from the restart as he collected the ball and then raced away unopposed. Du Preez missed the conversion as the Blitzboks held a 12-5 lead.

Kok was sent to the bin with four minutes remaining in the match for a neck roll at the breakdown and England took full advantage as James Rodwell went over in the corner. Charlie Hayter nailed the conversion from out wide to level matters at 12-12 with two minutes to play.

England threw everything they had at the Blitzboks in the final minute and sealed the victory when Norton finished off in the corner to once again edge the Series winners.

New Zealand 21-24 Scotland

New Zealand dominated the opening half as they were unstoppable in accumulating a 21-0 half-time lead, compliments of three converted tries. 

Scotland hit back in the second half though as they worked their way back into the contest. The Scots managed to claw their way back to a 17-21 deficit heading into the final minute as they ran in three tries, one converted. With one final play and possession, Scotland got the all-important try to cap an incredible second half comeback.

United States 31-14 Australia

It was all USA in the opening half as they raced to a 19-0 lead by the eighth minute thanks to three unanswered tries, two of which were converted. But Australia managed a try of their own in the closing minute of the half to trail 7-19 at the break.

The USA regained their 19 point lead after the restart before stretching it to 31-7 in the 11th minute. Australia had the final say of the match though as they scored their second converted try of the game in the final play.

Challenge Cup quarterfinals

Kenya 33-7 Spain

It was all Kenya in the opening half as they ran in two converted tries to take a 14-0 lead by the fifth minute. However, Spain had the final say of the half when they managed to cross for a converted try of their own in the final play of the first half.

Kenya raced out the blocks in the second half and found themselves 26-7 ahead by the 10th minute, compliments of a converted try and another five pointer. There was time for one more converted try as Kenya claimed the comfortable win.

Fiji 31-5 Russia

There was no stopping Fiji in the opening seven minutes as they ran in two comfortable tries to hold a 12-0 lead at the break. 

Russia bit into that lead 5-12 in the eighth minute but the Fiji ran away with the match, scoring a further three tries - two converted - to close out the match and progress to the semi-finals.

Samoa 21-29 Wales

Samoa took an early seven point lead in the second minute before Wales hit back to take a 10-7 lead with two unconverted by the fifth minute. Both sides dotted down converted tries in the closing minutes as Wales led 17-14 at the break.

Wales took their lead to 24-14 in the ninth minute before Samoa hit back with a converted try of their own to trail 21-24 in the 12th minute. Wales finished strongest though and scored an unconverted try to close out the game.

France 22-5 Japan

The first half belonged entirely to France as Japan failed to get out of the blocks and found themselves 0-5 behind at the break.

France came out firing in the second half and stretched their lead to 17-0 in the 10th minute, compliments of a converted try and a five-pointer. Japan avoided being kept scoreless when they dotted down an unconverted try in the 12th minute before France closed out the game with a five-pointer of their own to claim victory.

Semi-final fixtures:
(All times local - GMT plus one)

13th place

Spain v Russia - 12.36
Samoa v Japan - 12.58

Challenge Trophy

Kenya v Fiji - 13.20
Wales v France - 13.42

Fifth place

Australia v New Zealand - 14.04
South Africa v Argentina - 14.26

Cup

USA v Scotland - 14.48
England v Canada - 15.10

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