(ISN) – HSBC Sevens Series leaders South Africa and Fiji were the only sides to maintain 100 percent records during pool play as they booked their places in the Cup quarter finals in style at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, round six of the Series.
Having never won the Hong Kong title the Blitzboks produced a confident day two performance with Seabelo Senatla picking up a hat-trick as they defeated France 29-7 after earlier accounting for Japan 27-0.
Neil Powell’s side will face Australia in the quarter finals while Fiji, who beat Belgium 38-7 and Canada 45-0 on day two, await England.
The USA and England, both having already qualified for the quarters, played out a highly entertaining draw in their final Pool D match. Maka Unafe and Jeff Williams picked up doubles for their respective sides but Mike Friday’s men topped the pool on points differential and meet Samoa.
New Zealand fought back from their earlier setback, a surprise 24-24 draw with Portugal, with to win 14-5 over Australia to top Pool B thanks to two tries from 18-year-old Rieko Ioane and Los Pumas’ will be their opponents on day three.
Earlier the ‘magnificent seven’ (Jonny Zhiang, Christian Cullen, Eric Rush, Jonah Lomu, David Campese, Waisale Serevi and Ben Gollings) were introduced and the Village People entertained a 39,098 strong crowd.
“I enjoyed everything about Hong Kong, the atmosphere, the characters and the camaraderie which is unique about rugby,” said Lomu. “This is where it all starts for a lot of players. Titch has done a great job for New Zealand Sevens and this is where it begins for many. For my career if it wasn’t for Sevens I wouldn’t have had half the career I had.”
In the world Rugby Sevens Series qualifier, Papua New Guinea’s Wesley Vali scored a hat-trick to book their place in the semi finals and his side will face Russia on day three.
Russia beat Hong Kong 24-0 as the hosts suffered another heartbreaking defeat in the qualifier competition for the fourth year in a row. In the second semi final Zimbabwe, who beat Rio Olympic hosts Brazil 21-14, await last year’s relegated core side Spain who proved too strong for Korea.
Starting with twelve regional qualifiers – two from each World Rugby region – the final four are competing for a place as an ever-present team on the 2015/16 Series with the winner of the qualifier replacing the bottom-ranked of the 15 current core teams at the end of the current series.