BlitzBoks relinquish No.1 spot to Argentina in World Sevens Series
DAY THREE WRAP: Olympic champions Fiji beat final debutants Ireland 29-17 to win the Toulouse leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series on Sunday.
Ireland had made the final following an opening day that saw Argentina and Australia knocked out in the quarterfinals, while Series leaders South Africa and heavyweights New Zealand failed to even make the knockout stages.
The BlitzBoks lost a ninth-place semifinal 21-24 to Scotland on Sunday.
Neil Powell’s side (116) conceded their World Series lead to Argentina (118), who moved past them this weekend.
The wrap continues below…
Fiji, winners in Singapore and runners-up last time out in Vancouver after a disappointing start to the series, had to fly the flag for the big guns in Toulouse.
The writing looked like it might have been on the wall for Ireland when Fiji’s Tevita Dagunu went over for a first-minute try converted by Napolioni Bolaca.
But the Irish, playing in their first final hit back with quick-fire tries from Jordan Conroy and Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche bagging one conversion.
Fiji made it 14-12 at half-time, however, as Bolaca notched up his side’s second five-pointer, with Waisea Nacuqu converting.
The Irish, who earned a first-ever win over Series leaders South Africa in Saturday’s opening game, were then put to the sword by the double Olympic champions.
Josua Vakurunabili, Elia Canakaivata and Kaminieli Rasaku crossed for a hat-trick of tries in quick succession.
Conroy bagged a late second try, but that was small consolation in the face of a consummate Fijian performance.
Bronze medal match
A try and a conversion by Paulin Riva put France 7-0 up at half-time in the men’s bronze medal match against Samoa.
The Samoans, with the passionate home crowd cheering on their opponents, battled back well though in the second period and tries from Iafeta Purcell and Vaa Apelu Maliko – and one conversion by the former – had them 12-7 up with time running out.
However, France were not done yet and a five pointer by Jordan Sepho took the game into extra-time where Jonathan Laugel bagged the winning try as it finished 17-12.
Ireland were up against it heading into their men’s Cup semifinal against France with the majority of the crowd cheering for the hosts.
However, the Irish really stepped up to the plate and tries from Terry Kennedy (2), Mark Roche and Andrew Smith saw them come out on top 24-7. Roche and Billy Dardis added conversions.
France’s only try in the game came from Nisie Huyard.
Tevita Dagunu, Pilipo Bukayaro and Viwa Naduvalo (2) scored the tries in the second last four tie as Fiji got the better of Samoa 28-7.
Owen Fetu score Samoa’s only try.
Argentina ended up fifth in the men’s competition after they got the better of England.
In the fifth-place play-off, Marcos Moneta led the way with two tries and Joaquin de la Vega also crossed – with Tobias Wade (2) and Felipe Del Mestre adding conversions – as Argentina won 21-12.
Blake Boyland and Tom Bowen were the England try-scorers.
Earlier in the day, Moneta scored another double to help his side get the better of Australia 22-7 in the semi-finals.
In the other last-four tie, Will Homer, Calum Randle, Tom Emery, Hayden Hyde and Frederick Roddick went over for England tries as they got the better of USA 29-14.
New Zealand took their frustrations of not making the Cup knock-out phase out on Scotland in the men’s ninth place play-off, winning 42-7.
Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Caleb Tangitau (2), Dylan Collier and Akuila Rokolisoa (2) were their try scorers in the game with Scotland’s only try coming through Jamie Farndale after a superb offload by Kaleem Barreto.
Earlier on in the semi-finals, Joe Webber, Regan Ware (2), Ngarohi McGarvey-Black and Caleb Tangitau (2) scored tries as New Zealand saw off Spain 36-7 while Scotland secured one of their best victories of recent times.
Jamie Farndale, Jordan Edmunds, Ross McCann and Robbie Fergusson scored tries as they go the better of South Africa 24-21.
Four converted tries made sure that Japan saw off Wales 28-14 in the men’s 13th place play-off.
Timo Fiti Sufia, Taiga Ishida, Yoshihiro Noguchi and Shotaro Tsuoka were the try scorers for Japan, meaning that seven pointers from Tom Williams and Morgan Williams were not enough for Wales in a 28-14 loss.
Tyler Morgan’s try double had helped lead Wales to a 27-7 win over Canada in the semi-final earlier in the day, Moeki Fukushi, Taiga Ishida (2) and Timo Fiti Sufia the try scorers for Japan in their last four 28-12 triumph over Kenya.
*Australia were confirmed as champions of the six-leg women’s series despite going down 21-14 to arch-rivals New Zealand in the final in Toulouse.
Kelly Brazier crossed for the winning try to seal victory for the Black Ferns, playing just their second tournament of the season.
Fiji beat Ireland 26-10 for third place.
Day Three results:
Wales 27-7 Canada
Japan 28-12 Kenya
Spain 7-36 New Zealand
Scotland 24-21 South Africa
Australia 7-22 Argentina
England 29-14 USA
Ireland 24-7 France
Fiji 28-7 Samoa
Thirteenth-place play-off: Wales 14-28 Japan
Ninth-place play-off: New Zealand 42-7 Scotland
Fifth-place play-off: Argentina 21-12 England
Bronze Final: France 17-12 Samoa
Cup Final: Fiji 29-17 Ireland
Sources: AFP & @WorldRugby