South Africa, Fiji, Argentina advance to Dubai 7s quarters
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iowane Raturaciri’s maiden try in his first world series match saved Fiji in a last-minute 17-12 win over Australia at the Dubai Sevens on Friday.
Australia came from behind to lead 12-10 and time almost up but replacement Raturaciri came through for the Olympic champions, who have retained only captain Waisea Nacuqu and Josua Vakurunabili from their Tokyo squad.
Both teams had already qualified for the quarterfinals before they met, but victory ensured Fiji avoided South Africa, the defending Dubai champion and defending series champion.
Fiji will face Kenya on Saturday in the first quarterfinals of the new series, South Africa plays Australia, Argentina meets Ireland, and Britain tackles the United States.
South Africa won the only two 2021 tournaments in September in Canada against a limited field, and picked up where it finished by brushing aside Ireland, Japan, and Britain, the latter 31-12 from 12-12.
Britain beat Japan 17-12 only in the last minute after Robbie Ferguson dummied from a ruck and gave a pop-up pass to Jamie Barden to score.
Steve Tomasin converted his own last-minute try to rescue the United States by drawing with Argentina 21-21.
The U.S. trailed by seven until Martin Iosefo broke from in front of his posts and gave Tomasin a 75-meter sprint to the Argentina posts.
If the U.S. had lost, Kenya would have progressed. Kenya eventually did as one of the best third-place finishers with Ireland.
Argentina, trying five new players after winning the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo, advanced unbeaten with other pool winners South Africa and Fiji.
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