Day Two of the Singapore Sevens saw South Africa take the title. They defeated Fiji in a close tussle, a penalty in the final few minutes allowing South Africa to hold on for a 20-19 win.
The All Blacks Sevens will rue more unforced errors and ill-discipline in Singapore, after they went down 19-17 to Samoa in their fifth place playoff. After beating Samoa in pool play, New Zealand came out with a spring in their step and it took just 50 seconds for Joe Ravouvou to burst his way to the try line.
It didn’t take long for Sir Gordon Tietjens’ Samoan side to strike back, with the electric John Vaili stepping New Zealand defenders to score Samoa’s opening try. Their second try was a well-constructed team effort, which saw plenty of patience and Samoa took a 14-7 lead into the halftime break.
Samoa’s discipline caused them plenty of trouble in the second half, the All Blacks Sevens scoring through Sam Dickson and Ravouvou again, as Samoa lost two consecutive men to the sinbin.
After 8 rounds on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, here's how the series standings look. Top 4 at the end of the #HSBC7s series 2019 will gain automatic qualification for #Tokyo2020#Singapore7s pic.twitter.com/TG7P5XMuVd— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 14, 2019It looked as though New Zealand would pull through, but Dylan Collier was yellow carded and Vaili darted away to claim the victory for Samoa.
Earlier in the day, the All Blacks Sevens were outplayed by Fiji 19-5 in their cup quarterfinal match. Despite losing to Scotland and South Africa in pool play, the Fijians were too good for New Zealand and it was their defensive structure that got them over the line. The All Blacks Sevens got on the board first through Tim Mikkelson, but Fiji’s defence kept New Zealand scoreless for the rest of the game.
The All Blacks Sevens lost Kurt Baker to injury in the Fiji encounter and he was unable to play the remainder of the Singapore tournament.
The fifth place semi-final saw an epic battle against trans-Tasman rivals, Australia. The match went into extra time after scores were level at 22-22 at fulltime. A double from Joe Ravouvou and another from Joe Webber saw the All Blacks Sevens take a 17-10 lead into halftime.
Tim Mikkelson was the man to rain on Australia’s parade. The All Blacks Sevens stole the ball at the breakdown and Mikkelson sprinted to the corner to take the win 27-22.
In the bronze medal match, England were too good for USA 28-7.
In the overall standings, New Zealand hold onto third place on 130 points. USA remain at the top on 145 points, with Fiji hot on their heels in second on 142 points. South Africa’s win sees them sit in fourth place on 121 points. The All Blacks Sevens must remain in the top four to gain Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020.
There are just two tournaments remaining on the 2018/2019 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – London on the 25-26 May and the finale in Paris the following weekend.
The Black Ferns Sevens resume their HSBC World Sevens Series in Kitakyushu this coming weekend. They take on hosts Japan, Russia and France in pool play.
All Blacks Sevens results in Singapore – Day 2
5th Place playoff: New Zealand 17 (J Ravouvou 2, Sam Dickson tries; A Knewstubb 2 con) Samoa 19 (J Vaili 2, T Alosio tries; T Mealoi, T Alosio con)
Cup quarterfinal: New Zealand 5 (T Mikkelson try) Fiji 19 (J Vakurunabili, L Koroigasagasa, V Botitu tries; L Koroigasagasa 2 con)
The #AllBlacks7s will meet England, Scotland and Ireland at next month’s #London7s pic.twitter.com/FyS6j57IZF— All Blacks Sevens (@AllBlacks7s) April 14, 2019