Hosts and reigning series champions South Africa are one of three unbeaten teams heading into the knock-out stages of a sold-out HSBC Cape Town Sevens.
The Blitzboks, England and USA all progress to the Cup quarter-finals unbeaten after taking three wins from three in the pool stages. South Africa face Fiji in the final eight, reigning Cape Town champions England play New Zealand, Canada face France and USA play Argentina.
South Africa are targeting their second tournament win in as many weeks after taking glory in the opening round of the 2018 world series in Dubai last weekend.
A highlight of the day for the 47,000 strong home crowd was Seabelo Senatla becoming the fastest player to reach 200 world series tries, achieving the milestone in just 35 tournaments.
“It’s been a surreal day for me,” said Senatla. “The reception I got was amazing today and to play in my home town was incredible. The crowd was sensational.”
Reigning champions England, who beat South Africa in the 2016 Cape Town final 19-17, conceded just 14 points in their pool matches but head coach Simon Amor says there’s scope for improvement.
“I didn’t think we played particularly well but there’s a lot of heart shown which is key in this game,” he said. “The effort and the attitude was excellent, but our sevens wasn’t as good as it should be.
In the Challenge Trophy quarter-finals, Kenya face Samoa, Scotland play Spain, Wales face Russia and Uganda go up against Australia.
Fresh from their win in Dubai, South Africa began the pool stages with a 40-5 win against Russia, with Senatla bagging a hat-trick. Their 31-5 victory over France featured Senatla’s 200th world series try and the speedster also got on the scoresheet against Kenya as the Blitzboks took their third pool win, 26-7.
France started strongly with a 21-14 win against Kenya, and despite their loss to South Africa were able to finish second overall in the pool thanks to a 21-5 victory over Russia. Kenya will play Samoa in the Challenge Trophy final, while Russia will face Wales.
After a tough opening round in Dubai, USA were back on form and opened their Cape Town campaign with a 22-0 win over New Zealand. A hat-trick from Isles helped them to a 31-14 victory over Australia and four different try scorers got on the scoresheet as they finished pool play with a 26-5 over Spain.
The All Blacks Sevens, who lost 24-12 to South Africa in the Dubai final, beat Spain 50-0 and scored a crucial 35-12 win over Australia to take second place in the pool. Australia’s sole win came against Spain in their opening pool match, 36-12. They now play Uganda in the Challenge Trophy quarter-final while Spain face Australia.
England conceded just 14 points in the pool stages, beating Uganda 36-0, Argentina 24-7 and Scotland 12-7. Simon Amor may not have been pleased with his side’s performance on day one but it was enough to leave them top of the pool.
Santiago Gomez Cora’s Argentina side, who contested the final at the tournament in 2015, opened their account with a solid win over Scotland. A great individual try from Santiago Mare was the highlight of the match. Their loss against England was nullified by a seven-try haul vs Uganda, who they beat 43-7.
Scotland’s strong 45-0 win against Uganda was their only one of the day and they now face Spain in the Challenge Trophy quarter-final, while Uganda face Australia.
The major upset in Pool D came from Damian McGrath’s Canada side, who overturned Fiji 22-14, with a double from Justin Douglas absolutely crucial to his side’s victory. Canada started off their day with a narrow 19-17 loss against Gordon Tietjens’ Samoa outfit, who looked trim and dangerous in attack, but closed out the day top of the pool with a 31-14 win over Wales.
Pacific islanders Fiji, who finished fourth in Dubai, sent the crowd wild with some champagne rugby against Wales in their opening pool match, finishing up 28-14 at full time. Despite their loss against Canada, they still finished second in the pool, a 38-7 victory over Samoa giving them seven points in total.
Wales’ only win came against Samoa, with a Luke Morgan hat-trick helping them to a 17-12 win. Wales will play Russia in the Challenge Trophy quarter-final and Samoa face Kenya.