Fiji and US into quarterfinals of men’s Sydney Sevens rugby

SYDNEY (AP) — Series co-leaders Fiji and the United States are into the men’s quarterfinals of the Sydney Sevens on the IRB world series.

In the last pool match on Saturday, Fiji beat Pacific Island rivals Samoa 22-12 to advance to the final eight and a quarterfinal Sunday against Australia. Fiji won the Olympic gold medal in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Australia won the Sydney title last year.

In other quarterfinals, New Zealand will play France, the U.S. takes on Spain and South Africa plays England.

The U.S. and New Zealand are level on points with 57 points each, with New Zealand third on 54, after three rounds.

Needing to win by six points or more, Australia led 17-0 over South Africa but then conceded 21 straight points. Australia rallied though, scoring to lead by three before Nick Malouf ran 60 meters to score the decisive try for a 29-21 win and set up its quarterfinal against Fiji.

“Fiji are an amazing attacking team,” Australia coach Tim Walsh said. “They will score tries so it’s how you respect the ball when you hold onto it. Defensively you can shut them down but it’s easier said than done.”

In women’s Cup quarterfinals, series leaders New Zealand beat Canada 17-7, the U.S. edged Russia 7-5, Ireland defeated Spain 22-0 and defending champion Australia beat France 21-17. New Zealand plays the U.S. in one semifinal on Sunday, with Ireland playing Australia in the other. The final is scheduled for Sunday evening.

“I feel relieved, very much so,” said Australia women’s coach John Manenti. “The conditions weren’t perfect for what we’re trying to do but really happy to get through that.”