VIDEO: BlitzBoks stage stunning comeback
DAY TWO WRAP: South Africa staged an incredible comeback to win the Los Angeles leg of the Sevens World Series with a thrilling 29-24 extra-time victory over Olympic champions Fiji.
The results in Los Angeles see New Zealand maintain their position at the top of the standings at the halfway mark of the series.
The Kiwis are on 93 points, but the margin of their lead has been cut to just four points – with South Africa hot on their heels in second (89) and Fiji (72) a further 17 points behind in third.
In a repeat of the Final from the previous round of the World Series in Sydney, it was South Africa who this time triumphed thanks to an extra-time try from Sakoyisa Makata after the scores had finished level (24-all) at the end of regulation time.
Fiji opened the final strongly with three unanswered tries in the first five minutes, but the BlitzBoks clawed back the scoreline and equalised with a converted try by Branco Du Preez in the final minute of normal time.
Earlier in the day, South Africa won a hard-fought quarterfinal against hosts the United States with a last-minute try from Jacobus Pretorius edging them home 12-10 – much to the disappointment of the exuberant Los Angeles crowd.
In the semifinal, the BlitzBoks produced a dominant display to beat current Series leaders New Zealand 17-0.
Fiji’s route to the final saw them overpower England 26-5 in the quarterfinal, before running riot against Australia with a seven-try 43-7 victory over Australia in the semifinal, much to the delight of the large contingent of Fijian fans.
The bronze medal was claimed by series leaders New Zealand who achieved their fourth podium finish in five rounds, following gold in Cape Town and Hamilton and silver in Dubai.
The All Blacks Sevens overcame their antipodean rivals Australia 21-19 in a tightly contested bronze medal match.
Hosts United States were unable to complete a hat-trick of titles on home soil, having been victorious in 2018 and 2019.
However, they battled until the end to claim the fifth position with victories over France (24-5) and Ireland (24-19) following their quarterfinal knock out defeat by South Africa.
The thrilling performances of the host nation will have won many new fans among the 30,000 in attendance and across the nation.
United States star Carlin Isles finished the tournament with five tries, passing the 200 Series tries milestone alongside teammate Perry Baker during the tournament, and United States proved they will be serious medal contenders come the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The teams now move on to Vancouver for the sixth round of the World Rugby Sevens Series on 7-8 March.
With less than five months to go to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the squads will be looking to increase their preparations towards competing in the biggest sporting event on the planet.
The Sevens competition kicks off on July 27 and runs through to August 1.
Fiji 43 Australia 7
South Africa 17 New Zealand 0
Fiji 26 England 5
Australia 36 Ireland 0
New Zealand 29 France 14
South Africa 12 United States 10
England 7-26 Ireland
France 5-24 United States
Ninth place play-off
Argentina 28-12 Samoa
Spain 7-24 Canada
Wales 5-29 Kenya
Korea 5-45 Scotland
Ninth place play-off
Argentina 31-5 Wales
Samoa 28-19 Kenya
Spain 26-0 Korea
Canada 24-7 Scotland
Report by @WorldRugby7s
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) March 1, 2020