South Africa on track for back-to-back Sevens triumphs

Cape Town (AFP) –


Hosts South Africa remained on track for a second successive World Rugby Sevens Series title with two-hard fought wins on the second day of the Cape Town tournament on Saturday.

The defending series champions, who won the first leg of the new season in Dubai last weekend, beat Fiji 26-14 and the United States 21-15 to top Pool A and qualify for a quarter-final against Kenya on Sunday.

"It was a tough game," admitted captain Siviwe Soyizwapi after South Africa and the United States both scored three tries in the final match of the day.

Two yellow cards for illegal tackles disrupted South Africa, who kicked all their conversions while the Americans missed all theirs.

Earlier, South Africa overcame a shaky start to beat Fiji, the defending Cape Town champions.

Fiji led 14-0 after five minutes but South Africa clawed their way back with a try shortly before half-time and added three unanswered tries in the second half.

Ireland surprisingly topped Pool D, pipping Kenya on points difference after the teams drew 24-24, with Jordan Conroy scoring his second try of the match after the final hooter.

Ireland and Kenya continued their giant-killing earlier, beating Samoa and Australia respectively, to eliminate the two highest-ranked teams in the pool.

Ireland, who will play Fiji in the quarter-finals, won only one out of four matches in the series opener in Dubai.

"Last week we let ourselves down," said Irish speedster Terry Kennedy.

"We know if we play our best we can deal with anyone. Hopefully our best is still to come."

New Zealand, runners-up in Dubai, beat Argentina 19-14 to top Pool B and will play surprise qualifiers Scotland in the quarter-finals.

England, third in Dubai, missed out when Friday's defeat against Scotland was followed by a 33-12 loss to France, who topped Pool C.

Jean Pascal Barraque scored a hat-trick of tries for France.

Despite being unbeaten, New Zealand will look to improve on Sunday.

"A lot of mistakes are frustrating us," said Joe Webber, who scored two of the three tries against Argentina.