BlitzBoks' dramatic slide continues
DAY TWO WRAP: Saturday at the France Sevens in Toulouse delivered huge upsets – as the top three sides in the men’s World Series standings were all knocked out.
New Zealand failed to reach the quarterfinals for the first time ever.
Searing heat provided challenging conditions for the players on an action-packed day that saw Ireland, Samoa, France and Fiji progress to the final four in the men’s event.
But some of the biggest stories of the day were written in the morning session, with a dramatic conclusion to the Pool stage in the men’s event.
Samoa earned their third win in three games to beat series leaders South Africa 19-7, marking the BlitzBoks’ first failure to reach the Cup quarterfinals since Hong Kong in 2013.
The shocks didn’t stop there, as New Zealand’s 14-29 loss to Australia made some unwanted All Black history, as they failed to progress to the quarters for the first time ever.
South Africa’s failure to make it to the knockout stages opened the door to the other title contenders, Argentina and Australia, but they suffered quarterfinal defeats against Ireland and France respectively.
Ireland and Fiji also progressed to the final four after hard-fought quarterfinal wins over Canada and France respectively.
Pumas Sevens crumble, Fiji fight back
Ireland continued their impressive run by beating Argentina 14-0 in hot conditions in the first men’s semi-final, thanks to a clinical first-half performance and poor discipline from their opponents.
A beautifully worked team try was finished off by Bryan Mollen before Terry Kennedy crossed the line for his fourth score of the weekend.
Argentina lost Felipe Del Mestre to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle and shortly after his return to the pitch, substitute Joaquin Lamas also picked up a yellow, before the replacement then earned a second yellow late on.
Ireland’s deserved victory leaves them in contention for their first medal of the season, while it was a missed opportunity for a Pumas Sevens side that had been hoping to get as many points as possible to take advantage of South Africa’s early exit.
Fiji mounted a superb second-half fightback to reach the semi-finals with a tense 19-17 win over the United States, after going in at the break 12-0 down.
The Fijians turned on the style, showing all of their offloading prowess, pace and power as they scored three tries in the space of four minutes in the second period.
However, Steve Tomasin stretched over the line at the death to set up a dramatic finale.
The American missed the conversion that would have levelled the scores, but his side were given one final chance to attack after a penalty restart was awarded for foul play as Tomasin’s try was scored.
They opted for the scrum before attacking down the right wing, but Dmontae Noble was superbly tackled into touch to send Fiji into the final four.
Samoa edge thriller, France stun Aussies
Samoa came out on top of an incident-packed clash with England, triumphing 26-24 despite spending more than half the match a man down.
Both sides scored early tries before Paul Scanlan saw red for a dangerous tackle towards the end of the first half, leaving Samoa up against it.
England duly took advantage of their numerical advantage by running in tries either side of half-time to take a 12-point lead, but the Samoans produced a spectacular fightback.
The English were let down by discipline as Tom Bowen and Jamie Adamson both spent time in the bin in the second half, and Samoa pounced by scoring 21 unanswered points before conceding what proved to be a consolation with the final play.
Hosts France was roared to glory against third-ranked Australia in their quarterfinal, edging out the Aussies 21-19 thanks to an excellent second-half showing.
Nick Malouf and Ben Dowling tries gave Australia a 14-7 lead at half-time, responding to Thibaud Mazzoleni’s early score, but France replied through Pierre Mignot early in the second half.
The Series’ top points scorer Dietrich Roache crossed the whitewash to put the Aussies back in charge and take his personal tally to 249 for the season, but William Iraguha ran a superb support line to surge under the posts late on and spark jubilant scenes at the Stade Ernest Wallon.
Ireland 26-21 Spain
Samoa 19-7 South Africa
Scotland 12-28 United States
Australia 29-14 New Zealand
Canada 40-14 Japan
Argentina 19-7 England
Wales 14-19 Kenya
Fiji 33-21 France
Canada 19-21 Spain
South Africa 40-0 Japan
Kenya 14-26 Scotland
New Zealand 28-0 Wales
Argentina 0-14 Ireland
Samoa 26-24 England
Australia 19-21 France
Fiji 19-17 United States