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SVNS World Series - Vancouver men

DAY TWO WRAP: We bring you all the Day Two men’s action from BC Place, Vancouver – the fourth round of HSBC SVNS.

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Day One included France’s imposing start and Great Britain’s back-to-back wins.

All eyes were also on Antoine Dupont, as he made his HSBC SVNS 2024 bow, his French side the best of the teams on show on the opening day.

Vancouver play-offs

Quarterfinals

Great Britain 0-27 USA

USA got the game started with a useful line-out inside Great Britain’s half. The ball went through the hands but a forward pass is not what the USA wanted as Great Britain got the first phases of attack.

USA got the penalty for holding on and it’s a useful attacking scrum for them in the middle of the field. They got another penalty and set up a lineout inside Great Britain’s 22m but were caught for holding on. Both teams unable to put the phases together in the opening minutes of this game. Great Britain finally made some metres into the USA’s half but another holding penalty ensues.

This time, the USA used their speed with Esdale who pulled away from the defence and scored the try. The USA went back on the attack off the restart as Perry Baker ran for the corner and his pace was too much for anyone to stop as the Americans scored their second try to end the first half.

Great Britain got the second half started with the kick going straight out and the USA will look to strike again. Great Britain caught a break as it’s an unlikely knock-on to give themselves a chance to make something out of this 10-point deficit. The ball doesn’t bounce their way as it ends up back into Perry Baker’s hands who scored from the outside.

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Another penalty against Great Britain continued their frustrations as Lucas Lacamp spotted some space on the blindside off the scrum to score the try.

The USA were well ahead as time ran out in the second half. Great Britain got the ball back and just couldn’t seem to get out of their half as the USA won a scrum from a knock-on and continued to pin their opposition in their own half.

The balls went wide to the wing and Esdale found himself over the tryline for the double. The siren sounded and there was one more kick-off left as the USA convincingly won this game.

Argentina 14-12 Samoa

Hopes of a third tournament victory in a row were kept alive for Argentina as Samoa gave them a tough battle in a 14-12 victory.

Steve Onosai was on the scoreboard for the Samoans in the first minute, but Argentina replied to draw the scores level before half-time, with Elisapeta Alofipo seeing yellow for Samoa.

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Matías Osadczuk got the score for Argentina to take them ahead, Tobias Wade making what proved to be the crucial conversion as Uaina Tui Sione scored with two minutes to go, but Neueli Leitufia could not add the extras.

New Zealand 21-19 Fiji

New Zealand started this game with all the territory as they were awarded a penalty near Fiji’s five-metre line. They opted for the line-out which got stolen by Fiji but the ball went dead and New Zealand wont the scrum.

The space opened up and New Zealand got the first try of the match. Fiji won the ball back off the restart and showed the urgency to get some points on the board as they edged towards the New Zealand 22m.

Some strong ball-carrying got them over the line as the try count was levelled with two minutes left to play in the first half. Fiji were unable to get their conversion but made up for it with another try off a New Zealand error that was very unlike the Kiwis.

Time was up in the first half but Fiji had a penalty on New Zealand’s five-metre line but nothing came of it as Fiji led the first half by seven points.

The second half got underway and New Zealand were off to a brilliant start in this high-pressure game with a try to take the lead.

They pulled away with another try from a loose ball that popped out of the scrum as the Fijian errors cost them dearly.

However, Fiji caught a break as New Zealand were given a yellow card before Fiji scored a try in the corner with an overlap on the outside with one minute left of the game.

The last play of the game was a scrum to Fiji that they botched it to hand New Zealand a memorable victory.

France 12-5 Ireland

A tense 12-5 victory for France was decided in the only way it could, a winning try from Antoine Dupont sealing victory and France a tie against New Zealand in the semifinals.

Jordan Sepho scored the only try of the opening half for France as they led 5-0 at the break, but two yellow cards a minute apart for Rayan Rebbadj and Joseph Jefferson Lee gave Ireland an overlap to exploit, Harry McNulty going over to draw level.

The conversion was missed and a yellow of their own hampered Ireland’s chances, setting the stage for Dupont to shoot down the blindside of the scrum to score the winner.

Results:

Great Britain 0 – 27 USA

Samoa 12 – 14 Argentina

New Zealand 21 – 19 Fiji

France 12 – 5 Ireland

 

Ninth Place Play-Off Semifinals

South Africa 20-14 Canada

The BlitzBoks got the game underway with a high ball into Canadian hands. They got the early penalty and opted to kick for touch to set up the line-out to control the tempo of the game.

The throw was not straight and South Africa had the first chance to attack. The ball went wide and Impi Visser was too strong to be stopped so close to the tryline.

South Africa got off to a flying start to the game as they got the holding on penalty off the restart and they opted for the scrum deep inside Canadian territory. It didn’t take long for Impi Visser to crash over for his second try of the match as the crowd went silent.

A mistake off the restart gave Canada their first chance to attack as they needed to come back from two early tries. The ball went loose and Rosko Specman stabbed it through and won the foot race and South Africa finished the first half with a three-try lead.

Canada made an error off the restart in the second half but a loose pass gave them the scrum on their own 10-metre line. They just couldn’t get anything going as a low pass off the scrum doesn’t stick.

South Africa made an error of their own as a long pass was picked out from the air and Canada ran the ball in for their first try of the match.

South Africa made an immediate reply as Rosko Specman stepped one player and drew another to put his teammate into space and in for another try. South Africa regathered the ball off the kick-off and got the penalty as they continued to suffocate this Canadian outfit.

Josiah Morra did well to gain some momentum for his side with the hit and spin that saw him in the corner for the try.

Canada got the penalty after the score and all of a sudden they were in a position to win this game trailing by six points with time up on the clock.

Canada kicked and chased but were second to the ball which got bundled into touch and South Africa won this game.

Australia 19-14 Spain

Spain got the game started but they were straight off their feet at the ruck to give Australia a chance to try a special move inside their 22m. The move doesn’t come off as Spain has the put-in at the scrum as a special move of their own sees them under the poles for the first try of the match.

Spain continued where they left off inside Australia 22m as they asked questions of their opposition’s defence. A neckroll by an Australian player doesn’t do them any favours as they find themselves in a promising position to score a second try to end this first half.

The Aussies showed heart on defence to chase down the Spanish player on the outside and are awarded a penalty for their efforts as well as a try down the touchline through Henry Paterson to finish the first half with a try apiece. It’s a great start to the second half for Spain as the loose ball gets kicked through off the kick-off and they win the race to pull momentum back to their side just as Australia were getting themselves back into the game.

Spain was given a yellow card for a high tackle but Australia continued to be starved of possession. Some strong tackling handed the ball back to Australia inside Spanish territory as James Turner found himself crashing over the tryline with the Aussies right back into the game.

A dropped ball from Spain with 30 seconds left to play gave Australia an attacking scrum and a chance to steal the game at the death. The ball went wide but the Spanish defence held on for now. Australia got driven back in the tackle but Nathan Lawson is the hero to find the space with an 80-metre dash to score the try and win this game for his team.

Results:

South Africa 20 – 14 Canada

Australia 19 –  14 Spain

 

Pool A

Spain 31-14 Canada

Spain started with a competitive intensity, pushing the Canadians back from the initial whistle. They shifted from flank to flank and stretched the hosts until they broke, securing the first points in the fixture. Shortly after a moment of individual skill saw Ramos collect a free ball from the middle of the pitch and carve a path for himself to the Canadian try line. He bagged the conversion as well. Spain appeared to have no trouble knocking Canada out in front of a home crowd.

The Canadians, despite being closed down with speed, never stopped looking for a way forward. Their attacks didn’t prove very effective in the first half but they remained threatening throughout. Play continued well over the seven minutes as both teams kept it alive. Long enough for Spain to get a yellow card and Canada to secure a try. The first half lasted over 11 minutes.

Spain with a blistering start to the second half as they got themselves a try within the first minute. The half-time team talk revitalised them as they silenced the crowd with a dominant performance. The Canadians, with a never-say-die attitude, made continued attempts whilst at the Spanish 5m. After repeated bashing at the Spanish defence, Carson made it over the line with a fine consolation try. It refreshed the crowd, but did nothing to save them a play-off spot. Spain took the game convincingly.

Argentina 24-19 Fiji

Both sides started the game with fire in a bottle, looking to let it loose in the opposition half. Argentina drew first blood with their fiery attack scrappy finish. Fiji recovered after conceding. They weren’t phased by the try and went straight into an aggressive attacking move but Argentina quelled the initial attack. The Fijians pressed forward to bully the Pumas but a slip-up lost them possession and their defensive recovery was not fast enough, allowing the Pumas to capitalise with a try.

Both conversions were missed. Fiji backed themselves in the middle of the pitch and Batirerega, after he shook off two players, looked for options but saw there was only one – a solo run with space ahead of him. He sprinted forward to get his team on the board with a try between the sticks.

The second half started with Talacolo sitting out the rest of his time in the sin bin, and Argentina made the most of that by scoring a try right from the kick-off. Not the start Fiji planned for but they picked themselves up moments after and gave it as good as they got it. The second half went back and forth with the tries as both sides displayed their attacking prowess.  Fiji prepared for a scrum inside their 10m and Bukayaro picked it up then shot forward to pull another back.

An entertaining fixture as both sides looked square in terms of skill, but Argentina managed to bag one more try.

Results
Spain 31 v 14 Canada
Argentina 24 v 19 Fiji

Pool B

United States  21-7 Samoa

An interesting start from Samoa, opting for a rolling maul from open play. Their physical style worked well to drive them forward for a scrum at the 5m of the USA. The scrambled defence from the USA gave the Samoans another scrum and it turned to a try after a dummy pass and drive forward put Alesana-Slater over the line. USA struggled to exit their half, primarily because of their indecision. It offered Samoa, perhaps, a lot more time to close them down.

USA maintained playing a slow game will see them to victory and it paid off as their patience got them within striking distance just as the hooter sounded. They made the most of their opportunity and levelled the score with Esdale. Williams followed up in the second half to give USA the lead. A series of penalties for Samoa etched them closer to the USA try line but it didn’t come to anything tangible.

The final play of the game came from Baker who found himself with the ball in hand and showcased some of his brilliance by weaving a path through the Samoan defence and getting one for the road. He sealed the deal and added one more to his tally.

Samoa did well to utilize their physicality throughout the game, but USA’s patience and structured game were superior on the day.

Australia 5-31 France

Both sides started the game scrapping, and it remained the theme for the first half. It kept both sets of players on their toes but also meant that play happened in the midfield with neither side able to orchestrate a way through. As is the nature of any scrap, an opportunity arose amidst the tussling and France were the ones who managed to open the scoring after about five minutes of play. The try unlocked the floodgates as the French secured another try before the whistle for half-time.

The start of the second half saw the World Rugby Player of the Year bag his first Sevens try, to the elation of the crowd in attendance. The Aussies didn’t roll over and continued the contest with some expansive play but at the cost of their defence, which allowed France another scoring opportunity that they took.

The final minute saw Australia’s incessant pressing along the flank pay off as Palmer found his way through with the support of his team, making the final few meters himself. His try was answered by the French, putting them 26 points ahead in a convincing win.

France ended up coasting into the quarterfinal showing their class to secure their spot.

Results
United States 21 v 7 Samoa
Australia 5 v 31 France

Pool C

New Zealand 26-5 Great Britain

Great Britain with early possession after the kickoff but after a slip up at the ruck Rokolisoa turns on the pace to burst forward down the middle as he bagged the first try for the Men’s Day Two. GB failed to control the kickoff and ended up gifting NZ another try. Rokolisoa showcased the power behind his strides as he stepped and shot forward through any gap presented, regardless of size.

NZ looked comfortable in possession, but similarly in defence. They held GB back without too much of a hitch and shifted play back to the opposing team half. GB made their passes stick as they built a path towards the NZ try line. Matching the Kiwi speed seemed unlikely, but a well-crafted attack saw them run along the path they built, out-maneuvering the Kiwis to get a try before the half ended. Emens the man that got his name on the board for GB’s team try.

The second half showed the teams looking a lot more evenly matched as play occurred between the 22s of both sides. The Kiwis man, Rush, gets sent to the sin bin for his efforts in defending. GB were knocking on the New Zealand door but had yet to break it down in the second half. They eventually gave the ball away, and it cost them another try as Dickson secured his 100th try with only a minute to play. Kiwis secured their win with his try.

Ireland 22-10 South Africa

Ireland had early possession and they hammered away at the South African defence along the flank. Ward brushed three Boks off to reach the tryline and stretch the ball over the line. Brilliant individual effort paired with poor defence gave Ireland their first try. South had the first set piece of the fixture – a scrum along the wing. The South Africans worked it forward, as they looked to break after every pass as opposed to shifting it around and creating an opportunity for a defensive break. Their persistence paid off as they eventually made it through along the wing to level the score.

Ireland didn’t stay level for long as a focused and fortunate set of passes set them off along the flank, which allowed them to pull ahead just before the whistle. The halftime score was  10 – 5, neither side was able to convert their tries.

The second seven minutes saw Ward do more of the same – running straight into contact and brushing the South Africans aside. His determination secured a penalty for the men in green and it allowed them a line out at the 5m. A sneaky, well-worked play from the throw unlocked Lennox who went over to bag another Ireland try. Moments later, seamless passing by the Irish picked the South African defence apart again. The fourth try gave the Irish their first conversion of the game.

South Africa pushed after conceding a try and did score a try of their own, but there was only a minute to play, which realistically was not feasible for a Bok win. The game ended with an Ireland set piece and they kicked it into the stands, knocking the Boks out of the competition.

Results
New Zealand 26 v 5 Great Britain
Ireland 22 v 10 South Africa

 

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