South Africa opens door to foes for World Rugby 7s crown


Australia’s Dietrich Roache, front, evades Argentina’s Tobias Wade, left, to score a try in a 19-14 win over the South American side in the season-ending tournament of the World Rugby Sevens series in Los Angeles

Patrick T. FALLON

Text size

Points leader South Africa crashed out in the group stage of the World Rugby Sevens Series season-ending tournament in Los Angeles on Saturday, opening the door to the crown for three rivals.

Hosts USA beat the Blitzboks 21-7 in the opener and New Zealand edged South Africa 17-14 to deny the season leaders a quarter-final spot. final in Pool B.

That left Australia, Argentina and Fiji still in contention to overtake South Africa for the overall title after all three qualified for the last eight.

Sunday’s quarter-final duos include unbeaten Fiji v USA, Ireland v unbeaten New Zealand, Kenya v unbeaten Australians and unbeaten Samoa v Argentina.

Australia won a critical Pool A 19-14 triumph over Argentina, shut out Japan 61-0 and beat Spain 54-0 in the final game of the night.

The South Africans, who won the Commonwealth Games crown last month and the first four events of the year, could have clinched the title by reaching the final.

Instead Australia, who trailed 124-122 at the start of the weekend, have the best chance of overtaking them with Argentina at six backs and Olympic champions Fiji at 104.

Under a special points system used this season due to Covid-19, each team’s total includes their best seven results of the year.

It means Australia would win their first-ever title with a top-three finish while Fiji and Argentina need to win Sunday’s final and have help to lift the trophy.

Argentina must defeat the Australians in the quarter-finals to maintain any title hope.

The South American team has never won the title and won its only tournament this season in Vancouver.

Four-time champions Fiji advanced to Pool C, beating Wales 28-12, France 29-19 and Ireland 21-7.

The Samoans dominated Pool D, beating Kenya 33-14, Scotland 22-7 and England 31-5.

New Zealand beat the hosts 33-12 and Canada 26-5 in their unbeaten run in Pool B.


Comments are closed.