New Zealand's v Fiji in Final, as BlitzBoks choke again and again
DAY THREE WRAP: New Zealand will face Pacific rivals Fiji in the Final of the Sevens World Cup tournament in Cape Town on Sunday.
What has become a major embarrassment for host South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji advanced to the tournament showpiece.
Ireland put up a valiant display, but lost 10-17 to an impressive New Zealand team in the first of the tournament’s two Cup semifinals.
In the other semifinal, Australia put up only token resistance as Fiji cruised to a comfortable 38-14 win.
In the first semifinal, a brace of tries by Ngarohi McGarvey-Black saw the Kiwis race into a 10-0 lead, before a yellow card to Moses Leo opened the door for the Irish.
Jack Kelly and Andrew Smith levelled matters for Ireland, before McGarvey-Black completed his hat-trick to secure the win for New Zealand.
In the second semifinal, Filipe Sauturaga opened Fiji’s account in the third minute, followed by a Waisea Nacuqu try (12-0).
Nick Malouf got the Aussies on the scoreboard, before a yellow card to Josh Turner put them in a deep hole.
Iosefo Masi made it 19-7 to Fiji at half-time, with Kaminieli Rasaku effectively ending the match as a contest with Fiji’s fourth try (24-7).
Josh Turner pulled one back for Australia, but the Fijians went into overdrive – with Jeremaia Matana and Viwa Naduvalo putting the seal on a convincing win.
* (Continue below …)
The flick pass. The footwork 🔥
— Rugby World Cup 7s 2022 (@WorldRugby7s) September 11, 2022
* Meanwhile hosts South Africa suffered a second humiliating loss on home soil in just over 12 hours, when Argentina beat them by 26-19 in their fifth-place play-off match on Sunday.
With France beating Samoa 24-17 in the other play-off, the BlitzBoks will contest seventh position against the Samoans – which will be Neil Powell’s final match with the team that he has served as head coach for nine years.
Sunday’s result follows from their first big implosion at the tournament – when Ireland beat them by 24-14 in their quarterfinal on Saturday.
If ever the blundering BlitzBoks endured a nightmarish start to a game, Sunday’s fifth-place play-off was it.
Argentina scored their first try after just 13 seconds when they won back the kick-off, brushed off too many tackles and worked Tobias Wade over on the left.
And just over a minute later, Joaquin de la Vega also scored after more missed tackles by the host nation, with Wade adding the conversion to put them in control.
After that, the BlitzBoks awoke from their slumber and JC Pretorius – from a great run up the right after the restart – got the men in Green and Gold on the scoreboard, and after much better continuity with ball in hand, Angelo Davids scored shortly before the break, with Ronald Brown’s conversion making it 12-all at half-time.
Los Pumas drew first blood in the second half when Matias Osadczuk went over next to the posts when some gaps opened in the SA defence, and the conversion put them back in the lead again, by 19-12.
Playing with the ball for a change paid dividends as Shaun Williams found space to score under the uprights, converting his own try to make it 19-all with two minutes to go.
The Pumas hit right back though, with Luciano Gonzalez scoring after some good interplay from the restart, and the conversion made it a seven-point game yet again.
The BlitzBoks had one final chance, but Argentina won a breakdown penalty after the hooter had sounded to inflict more misery on the home team’s World Cup Sevens campaign.
Muller du Plessis said the results were frustrating and that the players were not doing themselves any favours.
“Saturday was a slow start and we had to play catch-up and today [Sunday] it was the same, being 0-12 down in no time due to defensive errors,” said Du Plessis, who feels the BlitzBoks have one last opportunity to redeem themselves against Samoa.
“We have one more game to go and where we place is not important – we need to give coach Neil Powell something to remember us by, we need the huge crowd who came to see us play and give them something to cheer about, but also and most importantly, we need to put some pride back into the system,” said Du Plessis.
“We have not performed, but we have one more opportunity and that will definitely be a focus for us for the last match.”
Day Three semifinal results
Ireland 10-17- New Zealand
Australia 14-38- Fiji
South Africa 19-26 Argentina
France 24-17 Samoa
New Zealand 38-7 France
Australia 17-7- United States
England 7-22 Canada
Ireland 0-24 Fiji