South Africa are out of title contention at the Hong Kon Sevens after they were beaten in the first quarter-final on Sunday.
The United States won 21-12 with the two scores by the Blitzboks coming just after the kick-off and again after the second half restart.
On a day of very interesting play-offs in the Cup quarter-finals, the Blitzboks played well and were probably the better team. But the scoreboard counts and the Americans won thanks to former sprinter and fastest rugby player in the world Carlin Isles, who scored two of their three tries with sheer speed.
Men with lesser speed sense probably wouldn’t have scored, but those were the clinchers.
♦ The loss meant that South Africa will play off in the semi-final for fifth place against Argentina (08:55).
It is an important match for the Blitzboks, as every point on the series standings now counts with the race to qualify automatically for next year’s Olympic games.
South Africa are currently nine points ahead of England who were shocked by Samoa, losing finalists to South Africa last week in Vancouver. The score was a close 14-12 win for Samoa, which obviously limits England’s possible log points in this tournament.
Argentina pushed Fiji all the way, with a lapse in the second half costing them an unlikely win against a team that clocked up their 28th consecutive win at Hong Kong and are well on their way to their fifth consecutive Hong Kong title.
In a quarter-final shock France, in seventh place on the series standings, surprised the All Blacks 14-12, beating them for the first time in Hong Kong. It is a setback for the Kiwis’ chances to win the title. They are currently in second place, seven points adrift of series leader United States, but will in all probability drop below Fiji who are five points behind them but have qualified for the semi-finals.
5th place semi-finals –
08:55 South Africa vs Argentina
09:17 England vs New Zealand
Semi-finals play-off times –
09:41 USA vs Fiji
10:03 Samoa vs France