Hong Kong 7s: It is France v Fiji in #Final
SEMIFINALS WRAP: France advanced to the Final for the first time ever, where they will meet Fiji!
In the Cup semifinals: Fiji beat the United States 28-19, while France advanced with a thrilling 19-12 victory over Samoa.
Earlier New Zealand crashed out the cup race after a shock 12-14 loss to France in Sunday’s quarterfinal.
Kurt Baker’s try took New Zealand into the early lead but they were down 5-14 at the break. A try and conversion by Andrew Knewstubb kept the game alive, but New Zealand fumbled its final chance in the 12th minute from 20 metres out.
South Africa also had a disappointing tournament, losing to the United States in the quarterfinals and with it they saw any hopes of retaining their World Series title diminished.
Fiji showed how much they love the Hong Kong stage – defending on their own line and going on to score at the other in a blink of an eye. Their counter-ruck was on point and Sevuloni Mocenacagi secured the try. Livai Ikanikoda added the conversion.
It was that man Carlin Isles that got the Yanks back in the game when he went on the edge and then a massive zig-zag run to get his team on the board.
As you’d expect between these two powerhouses it was cat and mouse. The USA think that they’ve clinched a handle on the lead going into half-time, but Fiji was having none of it – 14-7 to Fiji at the break.
Kevon Williams pulled out a corker, as he slowed down to almost walking, sold the biggest dummy that you have ever seen and then stormed over the line. There was enough time for another classic from Isles, but it was nothing more than a late consolation – Fiji winning 28-19 at the end.
It was a bittersweet start for France, as they scored first, but then lost Samuel Alerte to a yellow card for two minutes in their encounter with Samoa.
Instantly John Vaili turned up the volume with his footwork and gassed the final defenders to level up proceedings.
Paul Bonnefond put France ahead just before the break and Samoa required a big second half effort.
John Vaili pulled one more back for Samoa, but Aurelien Callandret gave the French the breathing space and ultimately victory.
United States 19-28 Fiji
Samoa 12-19 France
South Africa quickly went 12-0 up against Argentina in the first half of their fifth-place semifinal – Siviwe Soyizwapi and Branco Du Preez the try-scorers. Soyizwapi was sin-binned right at the end of the first half for a high tackle and Lautaro Bazan Velez punched through a couple of defenders Argentina’s first try five minutes into extra time – 12-5 at the break.
South Africa’s discipline continued to let them down and despite the BlitzBoks going into a 17-12 lead, it was Matias Osadczuk’s try that sealed a 19-17 win for Argentina.
New Zealand was looking strong and raced into a 12-0 lead – through tries by Joe Webber and Dylan Collier – before Ryan Olowofela made sure that his team are back in it with a cheeky chip through on a loose ball – 12-5 at the break.
New Zealand pushed their lead further, but England was gaining a bit of momentum with Tom Mitchell on the park. However, the Kiwis held on for a 17-10 win.
South Africa 17-19 Argentina
England 10-17 New Zealand
Challenge Trophy semifinals
Scotland flew out the blocks with two quick tries, as they caught Australia napping and used their pace to full advantage. However, right on the stroke of half-time Maurice Longbottom pulled one back for the Aussies – 12-5. The men in gold were pressing hard in the second half, with Maurice Longbottom’s dancing feet threatening. However, Jamie Farndale came up with a superb bit of work at the final breakdown and secured the match-winning penalty – Scotland taking it 19-17.
Japan was limiting Kenya’s possession and with ball in hand were keeping the tempo high and looking to minimise the number of rucks out there. At half-time, Japan held a slender 7-5 lead, after a frenetic half that saw them score one try each. Two early tries after the break saw Japan race into a 21-5 lead and even though Kenya pulled one back, they just did not have enough in the tank to close the gap.
Scotland 19-17 Australia
Japan – Kenya
There was nothing to choose between Spain and their neighbours Portugal after seven minutes – tied 7-all at the break. Spain raced clear after the break – tries by Joan Losada, Alejandro Sanchez De La Rosa Hernandez and Francisco Hernandez sealing the win.
Wales took a 10-7 (two-tries-to-one) lead at half-time in the second match. Wales and Canada produced a second-half try-feast – the Welsh scoring three more, while Canada replied with one for the Welsh to win 29-14.
Spain 24-7 Portugal
Wales 29-14 Canada