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USA end South Africa’s winning streak and New Zealand return to action with a bang
USA, New-Zealand and Australia remain unbeaten on day one in Singapore on the fifth leg of the men's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series men’s action since January certainly did not disappoint with some amazing ties on day one of the event in the National Stadium in Singapore.
USA, South Africa, Australia, Samoa, New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji and Ireland have made it through to Sunday’s Cup quarter-finals.
🚨 @USARugby have done it! 🚨— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 9, 2022
A brilliant Perry Baker try with the last play of the game sees the Eagles end South Africa's remarkable 36-match winning streak #HSBC7s | #Singapore7s pic.twitter.com/wcxqi5zghw
In the last game of the day in Pool A, USA scored in the final seconds to end South Africa’s winning streak of 36 matches stretching back to last season.
The winning try was set-up by a superb offload by Dmontae Noble and Perry Baker went over with the clock in red to see his side come out on top 12-7.
And one of the other best matches of day one came in just the second tie.
Ireland defeated Fiji for the first time ever in their sevens history after two Jordan Conroy tries, converted by Billy Dardis, gave them a 14-0 half-time advantage.
Vuiviawa Naduvalo pulled a converted try back for Fiji, but Terry Kennedy’s score converted by Mark Roche sealed a 21-12 victory for the Irish.
Jordan Conroy was later crowned DHL Impact Player of the Day.
That Pool D classic set the tone for a brilliant few hours of action and, for most onlookers, it was exciting to see New Zealand - usually a powerhouse outfit on the circuit who were champing at the bit to get their season underway after pandemic-based travel issues - winning three from three in Pool C. In Pool B Australia were unbeaten.
Pool A: Baker burst beats the Blitzboks
The action in Pool A began with USA edging out Kenya 12-10. The sides were tied at 5-5 at the break before a Kevon Williams try, converted by Lucas Lacamp, with three minutes to go put the USA 12-5 ahead. A late try from Kenya made things interesting, but the conversion was missed.
Series leaders South Africa, who have won all four events on the Series to date, once again they showed they are the team to beat this weekend by dispatching Canada 31-5. JC Pretorius led the way with two tries in that one.
The USA Men's Eagles Sevens backed up their win over Kenya with a more comfortable one over Canada, the final score being 33-12, Kevon Williams again on form with two first half tries. A superb try hat-trick from Sakoyisa Makata was the highlight as South Africa then defeated Kenya 26-5.
Kenya managed to make sure of a third place finish in the pool by getting their first win of the tournament against Canada. Herman Humwa, Kevin Wekesa, Anthony Omondi and Edmund Anya scored tries in a 24-7 victory, Omondi also kicking two conversions.
The final Pool A game was the final match-up of day one and it pitted South Africa and USA together to see who would take top spot.
It was USA who got off to a flying start when David Still scored a try after just two minutes of the contest, Lucas Lacamp converting. That was 7-0 and it stayed that way until the break.
With less than two minutes left on the clock in this tight affair, South Africa levelled things up when Ryan Oosthuizen scored out wide and then Dewald Human nailed the conversion to level things up. Then came Perry Baker’s aforementioned winner.
Pool B: Australia unbeaten as Samoa battle through too
"Corey Toole in space is always dangerous"@Aussie7s legend @CharlieCaslick on co-commentary duty calls it early as the Australlia speedster creates a superb try for Matthew Gonzalez#HSBC7s | #Singapore7s pic.twitter.com/pvwSorl0RY— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 9, 2022
The first game in Pool B was an end-to-end affair, England eventually getting the better of Spain 19-14. The sides were locked at 14-14 after seven minutes and it took an unconverted Ed Coulson try with two minutes remaining to get the victory.
Samoa led 10-7 at half-time versus Australia, who were third in the overall standings heading into Singapore, but the latter fought back to come out on top 26-17. The tries for the victors came from Matthew Gonzalez, Josh Turner, Corey Toole and Timothy Clements.
Samoa, who missed the last two rounds in Spain after pandemic-based travel issues, then served notice of their power as they saw off England 31-5. They led 19-0 and went from there, their try scorers being Steve Rimoni, Vaa Apelu Maliko, Uaina Sione, Melani Matavao and Owen Fetu.
Australia were just as impressive against Spain, leading 21-0 at half-time and eventually getting the victory 28-12. Matthew Gonzalez and Josh Turner both scored two tries apiece.
Then Samoa beat Spain 26-14 in the third round of pool games to make sure they would finish second and progress to the Cup knock-out stages. They were down by two points at the break, but second half scores from Owen Fetu and Indiha Saotui-Huta - both converted - saw them home.
Australia completed their very impressive day one outing by thumping a lacklustre England 40-0. Dietrich Roache (2), Corey Toole, Henry Hutchison (2) and Timothy Clements crossed for tries in a one-sided affair.
Pool C: New Zealand show they mean business as Argentina also progress
Jordan Edmunds stole the show in game one in Pool C, the man who was called into Scotland’s wider XVs squad during the recent Six Nations bagging an amazing four tries against Wales. The Welsh would not be shaken off easily though and the three conversions Harvey Elms put over were crucial to the 26-24 win.
There was then a mouth-watering clash between Argentina, second in the overall standings at the start of play, and New Zealand. Sam Dickson and Moses Leo tries - plus one Andrew Knewstubb conversion - had New Zealand 12-10 up at the break.
German Schulz scored an unconverted try for Argentina just two minutes into the second period, but New Zealand stood firm and won 12-10.
Scotland took heart from their win over Wales into the clash with New Zealand and the former led 7-0 at half-time after an early converted score by Jamie Farndale on his 50th HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series appearance, a number that includes four for Great Britain.
New Zealand upped the ante in the second seven minutes, Caleb Tangita, Regan Ware and Kitiona Vai scoring tries, with two converted, to come out on top 19-7.
Argentina then got their first win of the event by seeing off Wales 24-7, Felipe Del Mestre, Gaston Revol, Luciano Gonzalez and Franco Sabato the try scorers. New Zealand made it three wins from three to top the pool by thumping Wales 43-5. Moses Leo (2), Leroy Carter, Dylan Collier, Kitiona Vai, Caleb Tangitau and Akuila Rokolisoa were their try scorers.
Argentina made sure of beating Scotland to a Cup last eight place by beating them 29-14. Franco Sabato, Rodrigo Isgro, Felipe Del Mestre, Luciano Gonzalez and Felipe De la Vega were their scorers as they took second place in the pool.
Pool D: Irish eyes are smiling, but Fiji win pool
Pool D had the honour of starting the weekend’s play and, before Ireland’s brilliant win over Fiji, fifth in the overall standings France eased past Japan 36-14. Paulin Riva was the main man in that one with a hat-trick of tries.
Post protector to the rescue!#HSBC7s | #Singapore7s pic.twitter.com/4VtL7rXyls— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 9, 2022
They took confidence from that game into their next one against Fiji and pushed them all the way. Indeed, France led 12-7 at the break thanks to tries from Joachim Trouabal and Paulin Riva and a Stephen Parez conversion before Fiji found another gear. Vuiviawa Naduvalo scored two tries and Joseva Talacolo one as they just got themselves home 26-19 after another contender for tie of the day.
Ireland then overpowered Japan 38-7, Chay Mullins and Tamilore Awonusi leading the way with try doubles.
In the third round of fixtures, Fiji made it two wins from three by putting tired Japan to the sword 62-0. They scored 10 tries, five in each half, through Joseva Talacolo, Vuiviawa Naduvalo (3), Josua Vakurunabili, Iowane Raturaciri (2), Kaminieli Rasaku, Pilipo Bukayaro and Josevani Saro.
That win saw Fiji through to the Cup quarters and they won the pool when Ireland, who finished second, lost 12-5 to France. Jordan Sepho and Jonathan Laugel were the France try scorers.
Super Sunday to come
The first tie on Sunday is at 11am local time when England play Wales in the ninth place quarter-final with the actions going right through to the Cup final at 7.28pm.
In the Cup quarter-finals which begin at 12.28pm local time, Australia will take on Argentina, Fiji will play South Africa, it’s New Zealand against Samoa and USA v Ireland.