VANCOUVER (AP) — South Africa and the U.S. both went undefeated through the group stage and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Vancouver Sevens world series tournament on Saturday, which is missing many of the top ranked teams due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Vancouver was the last tournament to be staged before the COVID-19 pandemic leading to the cancelation of the rest of the series in March 2020. Despite the series recommencing after an 18-month lay off, Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalists Fiji, silver medalists New Zealand, as well as Australia and Samoa are all absent due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The U.S. had comfortable victories over Chile 33-5 and Germany 26-7, with Malacchi Esdale scoring three tries across the two matches.
In its final pool match the U.S. made a fast start against 2020 Olympic bronze medalists and hosts Canada to set up a 19-7 half-time lead on the back of Adam Channel’s brace. Martin Iosefo also scored a double for the Americans as it held on to win 29-19 and through to a quarterfinal against Kenya.
South Africa also made light work of its pool opponents, thrashing Mexico 53-0 with Angelo Davis scoring four tries, before topping Spain 34-7 and African rivals Kenya 33-14 to comfortabaly win the group and set up a quarterfinal with Spain, which advanced as one of the two best third-placed teams.
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