LAS VEGAS (AFP) – Two-time defending champions South Africa rallied for a 21-14 win over England on Saturday to reach the Cup semi-finals of the USA Sevens.
Tries from Branco du Preez, Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith lifted the Blitzboks, who next face Fiji who clinched a 31-12 win over France.
The United States booked their first semi-final berth since the 2010 Adelaide Sevens with a 20-0 win over regional rivals Canada. But the hosts will face a stiff challenge in New Zealand, who thumped Australia 28-7 in their quarter-final.
Australia had joined Fiji as the only team to emerge unbeaten from pool play, but a hat-trick from Joe Webber proved too much in the loss to New Zealand.
The United States got off to a quick start against Canada, with Danny Barrett crashing over in the corner shortly followed by tries to Folau Niua and crowd favourite Zack Test for a 15-0 lead at half time.
USA speedster Carlin Isles stretched the lead to 20-0 enough to get the hosts home in front of 34,593 fans. Four tries to Savenaca Rawaca set Fiji up for a 24-0 lead at half-time over France. Jean Marcellin Buttin put France on the board shortly after the break before Sitiveni Waqa added to Fiji’s lead before a late consolation to Bryan Dimeck.
The four losing Cup quarter-finalists will contest the Plate semi-finals, chasing valuable series points as qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics continues.
Meanwhile, Samoa will meet Kenya and Scotland face Argentina in the Bowl semi-finals.
Samoa downed Brazil 26-7, Kenya beat Portugal 17-7, Scotland edged Wales 19-14 and Argentina defeated Japan 15-12 in the quarters.