/ 29 March 2009

SA, Fiji advance to Hong Kong Sevens final

South Africa scored four tries in a 29-3 win over Samoa on Sunday and set up a final at the Hong Kong Sevens against 2005 World Cup Sevens champion Fiji, a 24-7 winner over Kenya in the other semifinal.

Lolo Lui kicked a dropped goal in the first minute, but Samoa never scored again as South Africans Renfred Dazel, Ryno Benjamin, Robert Ebersohn and Frankie Horne all crossed for tries in a comprehensive win.

Fiji scored three tries against Kenya in the first half before Collins Injera crossed and Lavin Asego converted to pull the Africans back to 19-7. But the Kenyans were scoreless in the second half, unable
to repeat their upset win over New Zealand in the quarterfinals, and Seremaia Burotu contributed another try to seal Fiji’s victory.

Innocent Simiyu scored a try in each half in Kenya’s 10-7 win earlier over defending champion New Zealand.

Zar Lawrence, playing after his younger brother died in a car crash on Friday night, opened the scoring for rugby powerhouse New Zealand in the first minute, but Kenya responded with a try in each half by Simiyu.

”Kenya is a great team. They’re easily up there with the best now,” New Zealand captain DJ Forbes said. ”It’s just one of those things that on the day, they proved to be the better team.”

Fiji beat England 10-7 in another quarterfinal, with Emosi Vucago crossing for the first try. England equalised in the second half as Rob Vickerman crossed and went up 7-5 after the successful conversion. But Pio Tuwai scored late to give the Fijians the win.

”There were a couple of instances in the game where we didn’t quite do the right thing. Games often at that level against sides like Fiji, things are going to be decided by one or two small good things or bad things,” England coach Ben Ryan said.

In the other quarterfinals, South Africa beat Australia 24-10 and Samoa defeated World Cup sevens finalist Argentina 15-12 on a last-minute penalty kick by Lui.

At the halfway mark of the IRB Sevens season, England and South Africa are tied in first place with 60 points. Hong Kong is the largest and most prestigious event on the sevens calendar and offers 30 points to the winner. – Sapa-AP