Australia force England out in Adelaide Sevens

New Zealand and Samoa have been forced into an early showdown at the Australian round of the IRB Sevens after South Africa upset the rankings with a surprise draw against the Pacific islanders.

The result put the South Africans on top of Pool B on points difference and left New Zealand and Samoa, the top two teams on the championship ladder, destined to meet in the quarter-finals.

New Zealand and Australia were the only teams to go through pool play unbeaten.

Australia forced England out of the play-offs with a 17-12 victory which allowed the United States, who beat England on the opening day, to sneak into the quarter-finals as the second best performer in Pool D.

Wales recovered from a 19-5 loss to Kenya to finish ahead of Fiji in Pool C and Argentina, who went down to New Zealand 47-7 still qualified second to the Kiwis in Pool A.

Although South Africa and Samoa were tied at the top of Pool B with two wins and a draw each, South Africa were the top qualifiers because of their superior points differential and will play Argentina in Sunday’s quarter-finals.

Samoa have been the rising stars of the sevens circuit this year, moving into second place and closing in on leaders New Zealand after winning the last leg in Las Vegas.

Despite being blessed with the series’ most prolific try-scorer Mikaeli Pesamino, however, Samoa had to settle for a 12-12 draw with South Africa in the deciding match in Pool B.

Pesamino scored the opening try, which Lolo Lui converted while impressive 19-year-old Sampie Mastriet replied for South Africa for Samoa to be ahead 7-5 at half time.

Fautua Otto extended the advantage to 12-5 with an early try in the second half and Samoa appeared on track to win until a minute into injury time when Frankie Horne scored and Cecil Afrika equalised with the conversion.

New Zealand, who won the first two rounds of the series in Dubai and South Africa before losing to Samoa in the semi-finals of the New Zealand leg and the Las Vegas final, cruised into the quarter-finals as the best performing team here.

From their three pool matches they scored the most points with 104 and conceded the fewest with seven.

Australia, targeting their home tournament to win their first title in eight years, play Fiji in the quarter-finals while Wales play the United States.

Collated results from Pool play at the Australia round of the IRB Sevens World Series here Saturday:

Pool A
New Zealand 31 Scotland 0
Argentina 19 Tonga 17
Argentina 14 Scotland 7
New Zealand 26 Tonga 0
Tonga 22 Scotland 7
New Zealand 47 Argentina 7

Pool B
Samoa 33 France 12
South Africa 40 Japan 0
South Africa 28 France 0
Samoa 54 Japan 5
Japan 21 France 15
Samoa 12 South Africa 12

Pool C
Wales 17 Fiji 12
Kenya 27 Papua New Guinea 7
Kenya 19 Wales 5
Fiji 41 PNG 0
Wales 64 PNG 5
Fiji 21 Kenya 7

Pool D
United States 24 England 21
Australia 40 Niue 5
Australia 36 United States 0
England 38 Niue 0
United States 29 Niue 7
Australia 17 England 12

New Zealand v Samoa
Australia v Fiji
Wales v United States
South Africa v Argentina

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