South Africa’s hopes of lifting the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 trophy on home turf were ended in stunning style when Ireland’s men emphatically eliminated the hosts on quarter stage.
A buzzing Cape Town Stadium expected to see the top seeded Blitzboks progress when they came up against an Ireland side that had only beaten them once before, at the Toulouse Sevens in May.
However, it became clear that the Irish were in inspired mood when Mark Roche dotted down the opening try and Mark Smith was denied a second when TMO adjudged him to have made an early tackle before touching down a bobbling ball.
South Africa responded through Muller Du Plessis to draw level before the break, but Harry McNulty restored Ireland’s lead after they stole two Blitzbok lineouts, and Conroy’s blistering pace added to their advantage as he crossed twice before a late Mfundo Mdhlovu consolation.
New Zealand faced a threat to their long RWC Sevens winning run against Argentina, but they managed to come out 12-5 winners from a tense battle and stretch that streak to 12 games.
German Schulz profited from a super Matias Osadczuk offload to go over in the corner for the Pumas, but Scott Curry struck back for the All Blacks before half-time.
It was far from a perfect performance from the Kiwis, but the match was lit up by a moment of brilliance when Moses Leo burst through a tackle to sprint half the pitch and dive over the try line.
There was a moment of concern when the referee had to be replaced after taking a knock in an accidental collision, and Argentina were banging on the door late on but couldn’t take advantage as they knocked on with the final play.
In Australia’s clash with France, neither side budged in a physical first half that saw Jean Pascal Barraque earn a yellow card.
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Les Bleus survived the power play period without conceding, but Henry Paterson eventually went over the try line to break the deadlock with the final play.
France immediately struck back after the restart with a stunning team move of interweaving passing and movement finished off by Paulin Riva, but Maurice Longbottom soon punctured the Bleus defence to put the Aussies firmly in control.
Olympic gold medallists Fiji knocked out Samoa to reach the final four, recovering from conceding an early Steve Onosai try to win 21-10.
Jerry Tuwai, Kaminieli Rasaku and Sevuloni Mocenacagi crossed the whitewash for clinical Fiji, before Onosai bagged a consolation second late on to take his personal RWC Sevens 2022 tally to five tries.
The final day of RWC Sevens action kicks off at 09:30 East African Time with men’s placement matches, which continue until the Bowl final between Germany and Uganda at 10:36.
Championship placement matches in both men’s and women’s events follow until the semi-finals kick off.
The women are up first with New Zealand v France at 13:07, and Australia then faceUSAat 14:05.
The men’s Championship semi-finals are intertwined with the women’s: Irelandface New Zealand at 13:35 and Australia are up against Fiji at 14:33.
Challenge placement matches are next up, before the two finals in the second-tier event: Poland v Japan for the women’s trophy at 16:21 and Uruguay v England for the men at 18:04.
The placements from 5-8 will be decided next, before two Bronze finals, the women at 20:01 and men at 20:25.
Finally, the action concludes with the showpiece Championship finals. The women’s final is at 21:17, followed by the men’s final at 21:54
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 Championship Quarters
timings in EAT
New Zealand 12-5 Argentina
France 5-14 Australia
Samoa 10-21 Fiji
Ireland 24-14 South Africa
Jamaica vs Zimbabwe 9:30
Portugal vs Korea 9:52
Sunday 11 September
Tonga vs Hong Kong 1014 AM
Germany vs Uganda 10:36 AM
South Africa vs Argentina 12:02
France vs Samoa 12:24
Ireland vs New Zealand 13:35
Australia vs Fiji 14:33
Scotland vs Wales 16;58
Chile vs Canada 17:20
USA vs Kenya 7s 17:42
Uruguay vs England 18:04