Series leaders Argentina lost to Australia but beat New Zealand convincingly on the opening day of HSBC SVNS Singapore to take a step closer to clinching the League Winners title.

Los Pumas Sevens, who finished 9th last time out in Hong Kong, will be sure of the trophy if they reach at least the Cup semi-finals at Singapore National Stadium, and their 33-5 win over the All Blacks Sevens showed them back at their best. 

Eighth-place USA took the upper hand in the battle for the final spot in the Grand Final, winning both their pool games against Fiji and Ireland, while ninth-place Great Britain could manage just one victory over Fiji.

USA have qualified for the Cup quarter-finals but will certify their place in Madrid if Great Britain and Spain fail to join them, meaning their clash with GB tomorrow could prove decisive. 

Pool A: Australia on top 

Australia won twice on day one in Singapore, winning 26-19 against series leaders Argentina and came back to defeat strugglers Canada 21-14 to secure a spot in the quarter-finals.

They were dominant in the opening half against Argentina, taking a 12-5 lead into the break thanks to tries from James Turner and Ben Dowling. Nathan Lawson and Turner added two more to take Australia out of reach despite the best efforts of Matías Osadczuk and Gaston Revol, who crossed late on.

Argentina got back on track with a convincing 33-5 win over New Zealand, Rodrigo Isgro and German Schulz each crossing for a brace to respond to the All Blacks Sevens early score, before Tomas Elizalde took them home with a late score to seal their victory. They will face Canada tomorrow to take one step closer to the League Winners title.

In their first game, New Zealand were trailing 12-17 against Canada before a Kitiona Vai brace saved them. His first drew his side level in the last minute to take them to extra time, and his second clutched the crucial golden point, breaking Canadian hearts.

Pool B: Blitzboks unbeaten 

South Africa topped Pool B on the opening day after wins over Spain (31-7) and Samoa (15-10). Two second half tries for Selvyn Davies and Shilton Van Wyk against Samoa completed a good day for the Blitzboks in Singapore, who will face France in the Pool B decider tomorrow.

Hong Kong runners-up France beat Samoa 17-0 in their first game and survived a scare against Spain, coming back from 0-7 down at half time to win 17-12.

Rayan Rebbadj started the comeback for France straight after half time, but it was Joachim Trouabal’s double and good late defence that sealed it.

With a losing bonus point apiece, Samoa and Spain will play off tomorrow for a possible quarter-final spot.

Pool C: USA take charge

USA won both their games on the opening day in Singapore, backing up a 33-14 victory over Fiji with a 10-7 win against Ireland in a grandstand finish.

Ireland led 7-0 at half time but Perry Baker and Kevon Williams came up with the goods in the second half, the US holding off a late Irish surge to make the quarter-finals in Singapore and put one foot in the Grand Final.

Great Britain lost 19-5 to Ireland but looked impressive in a 19-14 win over Fiji. GB took an early 12-0 lead thanks to Kaleem Barreto and Robbie Ferguson scores, and while Fiji came back with two of their own, Tom Emery’s second half try gave them enough breathing room to take the win.

Fiji, three-time winners in Singapore, are winless, but their losing bonus point against GB gives them a chance at Cup quarters if they beat Ireland tomorrow.