Monday, December 13, 2010
Wins for Argentina and the USA in George, South Africa
New Zealand are the 2010 South Africa Sevens Rugby Champions after winning the championship on Saturday in the Western Cape Province town of George. They won the tournament after defeating England 22-19 in a thrilling Cup Final. The event included 16 teams with Africa as the host region having four teams in Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe and hosts South Africa. The tournament had two teams from the Americas with the core teams of Argentina and the United States both involved in the event like all tournaments in the IRB International Rugby Sevens Series.
The United States were handed a tough assignment as they found themselves in Pool B alongside Fiji, Namibia and Samoa. With the two Pacific Island powerhouses in the same group they would need to perform very well to advance to the Cup Quarter Finals. The USA faced Samoa first and had a great match but in the end were defeated by 2 points in a 24-22 loss. They were unable to compete well vs Fiji and were totally outplayed in losing 43-5. In their third pool match, things clicked into gear however with the USA defeating Namibia 33-7 to advance to the Bowl Final to face France. The Europeans pulled off a narrow 19-17 victory which sent the USA into a Shield Quarter Final vs Zimbabwe which remarkably had another two point loss as the African side won 19-17.
Argentina had an easier pool as they faced Portugal, Zimbabwe and hosts South Africa in Pool D. Their first match was against Zimbabwe and the South Americans had no trouble in defeating the African side 28-0. Their second match was vs Portugal and was similar with Argentina winning 26-0 to set up a showdown with hosts South Africa to determine who would win the Pool and recieve an easier Cup Quarter Final. Only one team played well, however, as South Africa recorded a 29-5 win to top the group. This meant Argentina would face New Zealand in the Cup Quarter Final and the South Americans had another tough game and came up short in losing 26-0. The loss meant they faced Australia in the Plate Semifinal as Argentina faced all three Tri-Nations and the Pumas Sevens team played well to win 14-12 which put them in a rematch with South Africa in the Plate Final. South Africa won 10-5.