VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Rugby sevens world series leader South Africa again signaled it is the team to beat, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Vancouver Sevens after winning its three pool games on Saturday.
New Zealand and Fiji were also perfect at BC Place in Vancouver, with Argentina and France also having unbeaten records through the pool rounds.
South Africa had won six straight tournaments, including the only two held last season, before losing to eventual winners Fiji in the quarterfinals of the Singapore sevens tournament last week to end the streak.
The ‘Blitzboks’ thrashed Spain 31-12 in their opening game with Siviwe Soyizwapi scoring two tries, before a tougher test against the hosts where they had trailed 14-12 late in the second half before Selvyn Davids try sealed a nervy win for South Africa.
South Africa then squeezed past Australia in almost identical circumstances needing a late try by JC pretorius to get past the Aussies 22-19 and set up a quarterfinal with Samoa.
New Zealand, which made their comeback to the series last week in Singapore after a two years hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions, also won all three of their pool games thrashing Wales 38-5 and Japan 40-14, but survived a scare against Samoa in the final game to sneak home 31-24.
New Zealand will face familiar rival Australia, with Fiji playing France, and England taking on Argentina in Sunday’s quarterfinals.
The ‘Blitzboks’ leads the standings with 98 points after winning the first four tournaments. Australia and Argentina are tied for second with 83 points.
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