Series co-leaders Fiji, US to meet in USA Sevens semifinals

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Series co-leaders New Zealand and the United States advanced to a semifinal against each other in the USA Sevens tournament and will be joined by Samoa and Argentina in the final four.

New Zealand beat Fiji 19-14, the U.S. defeated South Africa 29-10, Samoa edged Australia 21-20 and Argentina beat England 26-21 in the quarterfinals Saturday.

In the other semifinal on Sunday, Samoa takes on Argentina ahead of the championship match.

New Zealand had to come from behind against Fiji, scoring two late tries, then stole the ball during a tackle with Fiji threatening in the final minute.

Martin Iosefo scored his fourth try of the tournament to give the Americans a 19-0 lead and Carlin Isles added his fifth in Las Vegas in the second half in their runaway win over South Africa. It was the Americans’ first win over South Africa on home soil — they had lost nine matches and had one draw.

Samoa eked out its win over Australia after Simon Kennewell hit the posts with an attempted conversion with seconds remaining that would have given Australia a one-point win instead of a one-point loss. Earlier Sunday in their final pool match, Australia beat Fiji 26-15, its first win over the Fijians in three years.

“We opened the door to move up the ladder and finish on the podium this weekend and produced some quality performances in our pool matches,” Australia coach Tim Walsh said. “Sadly, we let another opportunity slip and closed that door on ourselves.”

Argentina, which upset the U.S. in pool play, scored a try in extra time to edge England.

New Zealand and the U.S. are tied atop the overall standings with 76 points each. The U.S. has been runner-up in all four tournaments this year, losing in the finals to New Zealand in Dubai and Sydney and to Fiji in Cape Town and Hamilton, New Zealand.