South Africa reaches Dubai 7s quarters but Fiji misses out
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — South Africa was on track for a Dubai Sevens double after reaching the quarterfinals unbeaten again on Friday.
Dubai is doubling up on consecutive weekends as a stop in the rugby sevens world series, after the pandemic canceled the South Africa Sevens.
But the national team isn’t fazed not to be at home. The most successful team in Dubai Sevens history won its eighth title there last weekend, and picked up on Friday where it finished off.
In a quirk of the draw, South Africa faced the same pool opponents, and again dispatched Britain, Ireland, and Japan, scoring 90 points and conceding 19. Last Friday, South Africa scored 111 and conceded 31.
“We love Dubai, it has the same weather as South Africa,” player JC Pretorius said.
France awaits in the quarterfinals on Saturday, when South Africa will go for a record-extending 22nd straight match win across the last four tournaments.
France was the only different quarterfinalist from last weekend, at the expense of two-time Dubai champion Fiji.
Fiji, fourth overall last weekend, failed to get out of its pool after blowing early leads against France and Spain. France, from 17-12 down, won 22-17 against Fiji for only the second time in series history. Spain, from 14-5 down, won 33-19 with try doubles from Manu Moreno and Tobias Sainz-Trapaga, the last after the fulltime hooter.
But Spain couldn’t take advantage of the historic first win over Fiji, losing to France and missing out on the quarterfinals on points difference.
Fiji, missing a quarterfinals for only the second time in series history, took out its frustration by thrashing pool winner Argentina 40-7.
The French face the United States, the beaten finalist last weekend, in the quarterfinals.
The other side of the last-eight draw has Australia vs. Ireland, and Argentina vs. Britain.
Australia advanced unbeaten after defeating the Americans 22-19, a late try by U.S. speedster Perry Baker making no difference, unlike another of his late tries to edge Kenya.
Britain came from 21-12 down against Ireland to win 24-21 thanks to a Max McFarland brace in the last three minutes.
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