France shatters hopes of home fans at Sydney Sevens
SYDNEY (AP) — France shattered the hopes of home fans by beating Australia in the men’s and women’s quarterfinals Saturday at the Sydney Rugby Sevens tournament.
France’s 10-5 quarterfinal win has prevented a familiar final in the women’s competition. Australia and New Zealand have met in two of the three women’s finals to date in the World Sevens Series and New Zealand leads the overall women’s standings by four points from Australia.
Australia now can finish no higher than fifth place. Chloe Pelle scored just before halftime and Carla Nelson added a second try in the 11th minute as France kept Australia on defense for most of the quarterfinal. Faith Nathan sprinted 85 meters for Australia’s only try in the 13th minute but the score came too late for Australia to snatch victory.
New Zealand easily progressed to Sunday’s semifinals with a 33-0 quarterfinal win over Japan. Ireland and the United States also advanced to the final four.
New Zealand will play Ireland and France will play the United States in the semifinals, raising the possibility of a second straight final between New Zealand and the United States. Those teams met in the final of the New Zealand round of the World Series last weekend.
Home fans also were disappointed when the Australia men were edged by France, 17-14, in their quarterfinal. Australia led 14-7 at halftime but Theo Forner scored his second try of the match to level the score and France advanced to the semifinals with a late penalty to Thomas Carol.
The New Zealand men overcame a narrow loss to South Africa in group play to beat Samoa and reach the semifinals. Dalvon Blood slotted a dropped kick from a penalty in the last minute to give South Africa a 17-14 win over New Zealand after both teams scored two tries.
New Zealand recovered to beat Samoa 12-0 in the quarterfinals with tries to Roderick Solo and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black. South Africa went on to beat Ireland 26-12 in its quarterfinal.
Olympic champion Fiji also reached the semifinals after beating Britain 26-14. Fiji surpassed 50 points in its first two group matches before edging France 19-12 in its third match.
New Zealand will play France and Fiji will play South Africa in the semifinals.
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