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Los Pumas Sevens lay down a marker to their opponents with a first title in Cape Town.
Argentina claimed the HSBC SVNS 2024 series crown in Cape Town with a clinical win over Australia, a week after losing to South Africa in Dubai.
It was a fitting end to a weekend in which Los Pumas Sevens veteran Gastón Revol played his 100th tournament, and German Schulz scored his 100th international sevens try as the South American squad laid down a marker with a first-ever win in South Africa.
Argentina too hot to handle
Argentina were just too good for Australia as they added Cape Town gold to the silver they won in Dubai a week previously.
German Schulz opened the scoring with a long run-in, with Santiago Mare, Marcos Moneta and Matías Osadczuk also touching down in the first seven minutes as Australia struggled to keep pace with Los Pumas Sevens in the first period.
Australia’s cause was not helped when Nick Malouf was sin-binned for a high tackle.
They finally got on the scoreboard in the second half, as Nathan Lawson and Dietrich Roache cut the deficit. But player of the final Osadczuk’s second, his fourth in Cape Town, settled matters.
Tomas Elizalde and captain Santiago Álvarez’s late scores were the icing on the cake, as they rounded off the tournament with a 45-12 win.
Los Pumas Sevens had reached the final for the ninth time since Seville 2022, with an organised 26-19 win over Ireland. The scoreline would have been more convincing had the Irish not run in two scores in the final minute, when the match was already lost.
Earlier, Argentina’s Schulz had dived spectacularly under the posts to score his 100th sevens try as Los Pumas Sevens eased past day one’s surprise package Canada 33-0 in their Cup quarter-final.
Fiji leaves it late to claim the bronze final
For the second time on finals day, Fiji left it very late – but claimed the bronze final with a try on the hooter at the end of the second half to beat a dogged Ireland 14-7
An end-to-end momentum-swinger of a quarter-final between Fiji and France saw the Olympic champions race to a 17-0 lead; France, down to six pulled it back to 17-14 by half-time, then lead 24-17; before Kaminieli Rasaku ran in for a try with seconds left on the clock.
Terio Tamani converted to take the game into golden point extra-time. A crazy game only ended when Pilipo Bukayaro broke clear.
Ireland’s Terry Kennedy had bagged a first-half hat-trick, as Ireland played a near-perfect opening seven minutes, racing into a 26-0 midpoint lead en route to a historic 36-21 win over New Zealand.
New Zealand ended a difficult weekend on a bright note
After another big weekend in Dubai, South Africa’s wait for a title on home soil will continue for another year. They finished the HSBC Cape Town Sevens in sixth place, after a 29-7 loss to New Zealand. Their championship hopes were ended earlier in the day, as Australia silenced the crowd with a 28-0 victory in the quarter-finals.
Injury-hit Canada, with only 10 players fit for their final outing, were unable to repeat their day one heroics, but finished with a thoroughly deserved 33-17 win over France to claim seventh – a massive improvement on their 12th-place finish in Dubai.
After beating USA 21-14 earlier on finals day, Great Britain ended their Cape Town campaign with a show as they beat Spain 31-7 to claim ninth place.
Samoa, 2022 Cape Town champions, scored one of the tries of the tournament in the 11th-place play-off against USA, going from deep in trouble in one corner of their in-goal area, via a series of passes, to a try in the opposite corner for Taitaifono Senio Tavita. But it couldn’t stop them finishing the 2023 tournament in 12th place, as they went down 24-19, after earlier losing 24-17 to Spain.
HSBC SVNS 2024 returns at the end of January in Perth.
Australia claimed a first-ever Cape Town title, and their second HSBC SVNS 2024 series win in a row, with a gutsy win over France in the showpiece final.
Dubai champions Australia added the Cape Town crown to their sevens collection on Sunday – but they did it the hard way, after Maddison Levi was sent off for a high tackle at the end of the first half.
On a dramatic finals day in Cape Town, Michaela Blyde became the second woman in series history to reach the 200-try mark, but a week after their 41-match winning streak was ended by Australia in Dubai, the Black Ferns Sevens were outperformed by France in the semi-finals at DHL Stadium.
The first person to congratulate Blyde on reaching the milestone? The first woman to pass that figure, team-mate Portia Woodman-Wickliffe.
Australia claim back-to-back titles the hard way
Last week in Dubai, Australia survived three minutes in the semi-final against France with six players following a red card for Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea. In Cape Town, they survived the entire second half a player down to claim a first-ever title in South Africa at the end of a dramatic final that finished 29-26.
Levi was sent off for a high tackle at the end of a first period that lasted three minutes beyond the seven. They had raced into a 22-0 lead in the first six minutes, before Les Bleues’ got on the scoreboard.
But a double for Anne-Cécile Ciofani in the extended first half, and a third for Carla Neisen pulled France back to within three. Kaitlin Shave then put Australia out of sight, just as Levi had in Dubai the previous Sunday, despite Joanna Grisez’s late, late score.
Winning captain Charlotte Caslick said: “It was a really gutsy effort, finishing the game with only six players. We played France last week and also had a red card. To do that two weeks in a row it was just so brave from the girls.
Caslick and Isabelle Nasser had earlier both scored twice in the semi-final, as Australia eased into the final with a 33-5 win over USA; after making it 15 quarter-final wins in the last 16 appearances with their 29th victory in a row over Ireland, a 24-14 result.
And France held off a ferocious New Zealand fightback, even scoring a desperately needed try when reduced to six players, to win just a third sevens series semi-final in their history, as they beat the Black Ferns Sevens 24-12.
Tries from Ciofani, Chloe Jacquet and Lili Dezou were enough to get them to the final four, despite a late try from Fiji’s Reapi Ulunisau, which dragged the scores back to 19-17.
New Zealand finish with bronze
Jorja Miller touched down for just the second time in Cape Town, and Blyde added a 201st try as New Zealand beat USA 19-7 to finish the weekend in third place.
Earlier, Blyde’s 200th series try, which helped New Zealand beat Canada 41-0, was not her most eye-catching effort. But it was fully earned, as she fought her way through two tacklers to the line.
Meanwhile, USA captain Naya Tapper scored the first and the last try, as they booked their place in the last four with a 19-12 win over a much-improved Great Britain.
Fiji sneak fifth at the death
Ulunisau rushed over on the cusp of full-time as Fiji came from behind to beat Canada – with Olivia Apps sent off for a high tackle – 19-17 in the fifth-place play-off.
Ireland finished seventh, after seeing off Great Britain 17-5.
Marina Fioravanta’s after-the-hooter try ensured Brazil ended their Cape Town challenge in ninth place, as they came from behind to beat Japan 15-14 under the hot afternoon sun.
Injury-hit South Africa finished bottom of the table, despite going ahead early in their play-off against Spain. But Ayanda Malinga’s converted early try was the only high spot as the hosts lost 21-7, after opening their day with a 27-7 defeat against Japan.