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SAfrica downs Fiji, US to reach home sevens quarterfinals

December 14, 2019 GMT

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South Africa blasted into the quarterfinals of its home Cape Town Sevens by knocking off 2018 finalists Fiji and the United States on Saturday.

Fiji, the Cape Town champion last season, was overcome 26-14 and the U.S. held off 21-15.

South Africa will meet Kenya in the quarterfinals on Sunday. The winner will play France or Argentina.

Ireland won a pool for the first time, in only its second series tournament, and drew Fiji in the quarters. That winner will face New Zealand or Scotland.

Fiji took advantage of a yellow card to South Africa’s Seabelo Senatla to jump ahead 14-0 on tries by Jerry Tuwai and Vilimoni Botitu.

Rosko Specman’s try just before halftime boosted South Africa’s confidence. They dominated the second half with tries by Senatla, Ruhan Nel’s go-ahead score, and Justin Geduld’s clincher which he converted.

The South Africans enjoyed more control against the U.S., leading 14-5 by halftime. Selvyn Davids made it 21-5 before the U.S. hit back with two late tries with 30 seconds remaining. But failing to convert them was costly, whereas Geduld converted all three of South Africa’s.

After taking the Dubai title last weekend, South Africa was on a nine-match winning streak to start the world sevens series.

Kenya upset Australia 12-7 after Alvin Otieno’s try was the only score in the second half, and drew with Ireland 24-24.

New Zealand won its pool from Argentina by scoring first in each half against the Argentines through Joe Webber and controlling proceedings.

France was the only other three-for-three pool winner beside South Africa and New Zealand, and prevented two-time champion England from reaching the quarterfinals. France lost to England in the Dubai quarterfinals last weekend.

Phil Burgess scored first for England but France leveled by halftime and rolled on after the interval, rushing to 28-7. Series tries leader Jean Pascal Barraque finished with a hat trick as France beat England in South Africa for the first time.

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