Sun, Dec 04, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Fiji knocks Samoa out of Dubai Sevens playoffs contention


Fiji beat Samoa 31-14 in an ill-tempered match to knock out their South Pacific neighbor from playoff contention in Dubai Sevens rugby on Friday.

Fiji, the world series pacesetter after winning the opening tournament on the Gold Coast last weekend, topped Pool A and earned a quarter-final against Australia.

Argentina replaced Samoa in the quarter-finals in the only change from the Gold Coast playoffs and they will meet Pool D winner Wales.

South Africa finished the day by beating a sloppy New Zealand 21-5 for Pool B honors to set up a quarter with France.

Meanwhile, England downed France 29-12 for the Pool C prize to earn a match with New Zealand.

Fiji and Samoa each had a player sent off. Samoa’s Uale Mai, sin-binned in the first half, was ejected late in the second half with Fiji substitute Sitiveni Waqa.

Less than a minute later, Semi Radradra was sin-binned, reducing Fiji to five men. By then, Fiji were assured of victory.

Fiji led 17-0 at halftime and 31-0 within 11 minutes after a pair of tries by Joeli Lutumailagi, who has a tournament-leading six.

“It is always like that [physical] with our Pacific neighbors, we love our rugby,” Fiji coach Alifereti Dere said.

Fiji also beat Argentina 40-7 and the United Arab Emirates, making their debut, 43-0.

Samoa’s hopes were dashed by Argentina. Samoa came back from 21-7 down to lead 28-21 with seconds left until Agustin Migliore scored a late try with a tying conversion from Gonzalo Gutierrez. In the end, Argentina advanced ahead of Samoa on points difference.

South Africa accounted for Portugal and the US, and jumped to 14-0 against New Zealand and held on.

“I think we started a bit slowly, but we picked it up quite nicely,” South Africa coach Paul Treu said.

“This game tonight against New Zealand can give these guys some good memories and we can go into the second day with so much confidence,” Treu said.

England beat Zimbabwe, Kenya and France, and will look to avenge their loss to New Zealand in the quarter-finals last weekend.

“We’re getting slowly better,” England coach Ben Ryan said.

“There are still parts of our side where we lose ourselves a little bit. Very good sides might punish us. When we keep ball for a decent amount of time we are threatening everywhere. That is key for us,” Ryan said.

Wales scrambled through their pool, only beating Scotland 14-7 and Canada 15-12, before overwhelming Australia with three unanswered converted tries in the second half, two of them to an impressive Richard Smith.

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