Fiji fail to make quarterfinals at London Sevens
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
LONDON — Fiji failed to reach a sevens rugby world series quarterfinals for the first time in more than three years after it lost to New Zealand 27-21 in pool play in the London leg at Twickenham on Saturday.
Fiji lost its pool opener to Canada 22-19, for which John Moonlight scored the late winning try, and had to beat New Zealand to advance.
In a thriller, New Zealand led 12-0, Fiji was up 14-12 by halftime, New Zealand raced away again to 22-14, and Fiji closed within one point. Then New Zealand's Jesse Houston fended off a defender to score in the right corner to make the result safe.
Fiji, winner of the previous two world series, was second in the standings after winning Hong Kong in March, but faded with quarterfinal exits in Singapore and Paris, and didn't even get that far here.
New Zealand beat Canada 19-14 earlier only after Joe Webber tracked down Canada's Harry Jones meters from the line.
Only the Kiwis and England, which hasn't won its home event since 2009, finished the first day unbeaten.
England needed last-gasp tries by Dan Norton to beat Australia 19-12, and by Alex Davis to beat Samoa 24-19.
England's reward was a quarterfinal on Sunday against South Africa, which clinched the world series title last weekend in Paris, and went on to win its fifth cup title in nine legs.
The South Africans beat Kenya and Wales by only two points each, and only after the Welsh missed a late conversion. Having ensured it would advance, South Africa then lost its last pool game to the United States 24-12, only its fifth loss to the Americans in 46 matches.
The U.S. won Pool A on points difference, as did Argentina in Pool B.
Argentina beat France, which beat Scotland, which beat Argentina. All three teams finished with two wins each, and Argentina and Scotland advance on points difference, while France missed out.
Scotland won its first cup title here last year, beating South Africa by one point in the final, and will have to go through New Zealand in the quarterfinals on Sunday.
The other quarters are: Canada vs. Argentina, and Australia vs. United States.