Fiji, SA lose in pool but reach Paris 7s quarterfinals
PARIS (AP) Fiji lost for the first time since March yet kept alive its bid for the sevens rugby world series title by reaching the Paris Sevens quarterfinals on Saturday.
Fiji is in a race to the title with defending champion South Africa in the series finale. The Fijians lead by seven points overall, and can clinch the series by making the final at Stade Jean Bouin.
Kenya won 22-19 to end Fiji’s 26-match winning streak across six tournaments.
Kenya led 15-0 after Collins Injera scored, set up Willy Ambaka, and Andrew Amonde dotted down in a rousing Fiji-type display. Fiji’s Eroni Sau was yellow-carded to begin the second half and Erick Ombasa scored to make it 22-7, a gap too large to overcome.
Fiji could have been knocked out by New Zealand in its last pool game but was too good for its old rival by 26-17.
South Africa lost its opening pool game to Scotland 14-12, after Harvey Elms scored the tying try for Scotland and Robbie Fergusson made the conversion from wide out on the left after the hooter.
South Africa then had to come from behind three times to beat Russia 21-19, needing a late converted try by Seabelo Senatla. They handled Canada 28-0, effectively preventing Scotland from advancing.
Ireland, a surprise third in London last weekend, brought in six new players to make their world series debut, and made the quarterfinals yet again. The Irish even topped their pool and knocked out Australia 24-14.
In a late match, the U.S. came from 21-7 down in the last minute or so to score two converted tries, one while England was down to six men, and draw 21-21.
Meanwhile, Australia won the women’s series by winning a remarkable semifinal against France 21-17.
After New Zealand won its semifinal by crushing Canada, Australia had to win its match to clinch the series. It led France 14-0 into the second half, whereupon France scored the next three tries to lead 17-14 with a minute left. Australia received a penalty deep in its territory and Emilee Cherry broke free to score. Australia and New Zealand play the final on Sunday.
Australia had to win