Fiji, NZ, Kenya and South Africa top pools at NZ Sevens
HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) — South Africa, New Zealand, Fiji and Kenya topped their groups Saturday at the New Zealand leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series, staged for the first time in Hamilton.
The world champion South Africans, host New Zealand and Olympic champion Fiji all finished with unblemished 3-0 records from pool play while Kenya topped the tight Pool D with two wins and a draw.
England, Australia and Samoa also secured quarterfinal places with two wins from three games while Scotland edged Argentina for the other place in the top eight.
New Zealand needed a last-gasp try to Joe Ravouvou to snatch a 17-12 win over Argentina, semifinalists in Sydney last weekend, and to clinch top place in its pool. The win also cost Argentina a place in the Cup quarterfinals, sending Scotland through at its expense after Argentina’s earlier shock loss to France.
New Zealand previously beat France 52-7 and Scotland 24-5 to stake its claim for the title in the first-ever World Series tournament played in Hamilton which took over from Wellington as host-city of the New Zealand leg.
South Africa was again the most impressive team in pool play, outscoring its rivals with 102 points as it beat Papua New Guinea 36-5, Russia 38-0 and England 28-7.
Fiji beat Wales 28-0, Spain 24-12 and Australia, winners of last weekend’s Sydney tournament, 26-15.
New Zealand plays England, Fiji faces Samoa, Kenya takes on Australia and South Africa meets Scotland in Sunday’s quarterfinals.
Scotland secured its quarterfinal place with a 26-14 win over France, and Kenya scraped into the playoffs with a 19-19 draw against the United States after beating Canada 19-14 and Samoa by the same score.
England beat Russia 47-0 and Papua New Guinea 27-0 before falling to South Africa in the pool decider.
Australia failed to recapture the form it showed in front of its home fans last weekend, losing 26-15 to Fiji in the decisive match in its pool after beating Spain 21-5 and Wales 26-7.