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HSBC Sevens World Series

Dubai Sevens: USA stun Fiji to join Australia, New Zealand and England in semi-finals

  • Perry Baker inspires Eagles against Olympic champions with two tries
  • England beat South Africa, All Blacks Sevens see off Scotland and Australia cruise past Argentina
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 December, 2018, 2:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 December, 2018, 9:26pm

Fiji’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series campaign is off to a stuttering start, as their bid for the Dubai Sevens title was ended at the quarter-finals stage.

Fiji were served a humbling 24-12 defeat by the USA on Saturday afternoon, with the Eagles inspired by two-time world player of the year Perry Baker.

LATEST: New Zealand edge England, USA beat Australia in Dubai Sevens semi-finals

Baker and his team will next tackle a free-scoring Australia, who earlier battered Argentina 38-0 at the Sevens Stadium.

England ran in four tries to beat defending champions South Africa 22-5 in Saturday’s first quarter-final. That win set up a semi-final against New Zealand, who eased past Scotland 21-7.

Samoa face Spain and Canada take on France in the Challenge Trophy semi-finals.

Cup quarter-finals

The USA stormed into an early lead against Fiji, as Baker dashed around the outside to score. But Apenisa Cakaubalavu waltzed home after a smart one-two and Vatemo Ravouvou kicked the extras to put Fiji 7-5 ahead.

Baker was at it again just before the break though, tearing away for a try with Madison Hughes converting to restore the USA’s lead.

Things got worse for Fiji when Sevuloni Mocenacagi was sin-binned early in the second half.

The USA quickly took advantage with Baker breaking away again and Martin Iosefo eventually putting the ball down from the ruck for 17-7, though Hughes missed an easy kick.

But it didn’t matter as the Eagles tore through Fiji again, this time Folau Niua strolling through to score, and Hughes got his kick right.

Cakaubalavu got his second try second before the hooter but the damage had already been done.

“It’s hard to tell with us sometimes man, but we came out firing,” Baker said. “I’m happy the boys came together as one and fought well for this win.

“I was telling my teammates before the game, the spaces are here, have a go and I’ll try to meet up with you guys.”

In the first quarter-final, England stormed into a 17-0 half-time lead against the Blitzboks, with two tries from Tom Mitchell and one from Tom Bowen in the final play.

Substitute Phil Burgess broke through to put England 22-0 up but Hillegard Du Plessis sped away down the left almost immediately to reduce the arrears, though it was too little too late.

Dubai Sevens: Friday highlights as Fiji, New Zealand, Australia stay perfect on day one

Ngarohi McGarvey Black and Amanaki Nicole touched down for the All Blacks Sevens before the break against Scotland, with Andrew Knewstubb converting both scores for a 14-0 lead.

Knewstubb then got in on the try scoring action in the second half, taking the final offload as New Zealand turned desperate last-ditch defending into a lethal counter attack before adding the extras.

The game was over but Scotland persisted and got their reward with Harvey forcing his way through the tackle and reaching the line as the hooter sounded.

Australia got off to a quick start against Argentina with first-half tries from Jesse Parahi, Ben O’Donnell and Nicholas Malouf. John Porch added the extras for all three scores to make it 21-0.

O’Donnell got his second try of the game after the break with Porch again doing the honours. A delightful grubber from Maurice Longbottom then fed the onrushing Malouf, who offloaded to Henry Hutchison for the firth score.

For once, the angle was too tight for Porch to convert, but he strolled through a demoralised Argentina defence to touch down in the dying seconds.

Challenge Trophy quarter-finals

In Saturday’s early games, Samoa smashed Japan 40-12 and Spain surprised Kenya 26-19. Canada then beat Zimbabwe 38-5 and France were 38-17 victors over winless Wales.