On day two of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney, the men’s and women’s Cup semi-finalists were decided and there was drama everywhere you looked.
In both events France shocked the host nation Australia at the Cup quarter-final stage, the women winning 10-5 and then, in the last game of the day, a penalty by Thomas Carol giving them a 17-14 victory at the death in the men’s competition.
Earlier, Australia, South Africa, Samoa and Fiji had made it through Pool play unbeaten in the men’s event and Hamilton winners Argentina missed out on the Cup last eight.
France, New Zealand, South Africa and Fiji are into the Cup semi-finals which take place on day three.
New Zealand and Australia won games in their women’s Pools to make it three wins from three, backing up strong showings on day one.
With France shocking Australia in the Cup last eight, the semi-final line up on day three will see them taking on USA and Ireland facing New Zealand.
Men’s Pool phase finishes
Australia had just got the better of Great Britain 12-7 on day one, but to start day two they had a more comfortable 22-7 win over Canada, James Turner leading the way with two tries and Darby Lancaster and Henry Hutchison also crossing.
In a classic tie, a late score from Kaleem Barreto, converted by Freddie Roddick, got Great Britain past Argentina 26-19.
Great Britain then backed it up with a comfortable 33-5 victory over Canada and that gave them second place in the Pool behind Australia as the hosts went on to beat Argentina 29-10.
James Turner, Dietrich Roache, Josh Turner, Maurice Longbottom and Lancaster scored tries to please the home crowd.
South Africa and New Zealand had both won their first games comfortably on day one - and they began day two in similarly ruthless form.
Ricardo Duarttee and Dalvon Blood both scored try doubles as South Africa saw off Uruguay 28-12 and then New Zealand ran in tries through Akuila Rokolisoa, Sione Molia, Dylan Collier, Roderick Solo and Lewis Ormond to get the better of Kenya 33-0.
Kenya then pipped Uruguay to third place in the Pool by defeating them 24-19, tries from Nelson Oyoo (2), Alvin Otieno and Anthony Omondi seeing them home.
In the table topping decider, a late kick sealed the win for South Africa 17-14 over New Zealand. They both progressed to the Cup last eight.
Ireland had been edged out by Samoa 17-12 on day one, but began day two with a 26-0 win over Spain.
Andrew Smith, Jack Kelly, Jordan Conroy and Harry McNulty were there try scorers while, next up, Samoa kept up their great start to the tournament by beating USA 26-7.
Vaa Apelu Maliko, Tuna Tuitama (2) and Faafoi Falaniko scored their tries in that one.
They then made sure of topping the Pool with three wins from three when they saw off Spain 35-15.
Ireland made sure of claiming second place and a Cup last eight spot by seeing off USA 26-0, Terry Kennedy (2), Smith and Mark Roche the try scorers this time.
Fiji had scored 52 points on day one against Tonga and they went even better to start day two with 54 against Japan.
Waisea Nacuqu, Josese Batirerega (2), Tevita Daugunu, Manueli Maisamoa, Sevuloni Mocenacagi (2) and Pilipo Bukayaro scored tries in the domination before France looked good, too, versus Tonga.
France won that one 40-0 before Tong dusted themselves down to take third place in the Pool by getting past Japan 26-12.
Samson Fualalo, Sioeli Filimoehala and Kyren Taumoefolau (2) scored their tries before the Pool decider between Fiji and France.
A try double by Jonathan Laugel had France just 14-12 behind with a few minutes to go, but Batirerega’s five pointer sealed in for Fiji 19-12.
Men’s Cup quarter-finals
The first last eight tie was a really tight one, but in the end tries from Roderick Solo and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black - plus a conversion from the latter - saw New Zealand past Samoa 12-0.
Christie Grobbelaar (2), Shilton van Wyk and Jaiden Baron were then the try scorers as South Africa got past Ireland 26-12.
Fiji then scored the same number of points as they got the better of Great Britain 26-14.
Viwa Naduvalo, Josua Vakurinabili, Waisea Nacuqu and Manueli Maisamoa were the try scorers for the victors.
And, to round off day two, France played very well against Australia.
France took the lead in the opening period thanks to a Theo Forner try which was converted by Paulin Riva.
Converted tries by Tim Clements and Josh Turner put Australia 14-7 up at half-time, but Forner’s second try converted by Stephen Parez Edo Martin in the second half made it 14-14.
Thomas Carol’s penalty then won it for France 17-14.
Women’s Pool phase finishes
France backed up a win and a loss on day one with a 41-7 victory over Papua New Guinea.
Joanna Grisez (3), Camille Grassineau, Montserrat Amedee, Chloé Pelle and Lili Dezou scored tries, but it was New Zealand who topped the Pool.
They made it three wins from three by beating Japan 27-12, Michaela Blyde (3), Stacey Fluhler and Shiray Kaka the New Zealand try scorers.
Japan did manage to progress to the Cup last eight as one of the best third placed teams.
Fiji had lost to Great Britain on day one, but started day two in style with a 34-7 triumph over Canada, Reapi Ulunisau scoring two tries in that one.
Sammy Sullivan and Ilona Maher scored tries and Kayla Canett converted one as USA edged out Great Britain 12-10.
Amazingly, that meant that Great Britain, Fiji and USA all finished on seven points with the Americans third. They all went through to the Cup quarter-finals.
Brazil turned on the style to see off Spain on day two, Thalia Costa, Mariana Nicolau, Isadora Lopes de Souza and Gabriela Lima (2) their try scorers.
Unfortunately for them it only got them to five points and was not enough to make the Cup last eight, but Australia and Ireland made it through.
In the final Pool match Australia got the crowd on their feet by thumping Ireland 43-7 to make it three wins from three.
Charlotte Caslick (2), Faith Nathan, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Maddison Levi, Teagan Levi and Sariah Paki all crossed for them.
Women’s Cup quarter-finals
After meeting in Pool play earlier in the day, USA and Great Britain met again in the first last eight tie.
And, once again it was the Americans who came out on top, Naya Tapper and Kristi Kirshe with tries in a 10-5 victory.
France then put in the performance of the day to stun the crowd and get past Australia 10-5, Chloé Pelle and Carla Neisen with tries.
Lucy Mulhall, Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe (2) and Eve Higgins then scored tries for Ireland as Fiji were put to the sword 26-12.
Michaela Blyde, Jorja Miller (2), Stacey Fluhler and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe then went over for New Zealand who were too powerful for Japan and won 33-0.
What is to come?
Day three on Sunday will see the Cup winners crowned in the men’s and the women’s events and all the other placings decided.
It’s going to be a cracker.