- South Africa defend Vegas title with tense 14-7 win over New Zealand
- BlitzBokke concede just two tries all weekend and top World Series table
- Canada complete stunning 21-19 turnaround over Samoa to finish third
- Plate Trophy consolation for England with 26-24 win over Australia
- Fiji triumph 35-0 to take Bowl Final honours over Kenya
- USA take Shield Trophy with deserved 31-0 win over Spain
- Get involved on Twitter @irbsevens and #sevens
This HSBC World Sevens Series continues to come up with story lines and subplots galore. South Africa deservedly defend their Las Vegas title, and why not after conceding only two tries all weekend! Meanwhile, New Zealand's search for a Vegas title goes on, but they now head to the home Wellington leg in the mood to get one over their rivals.
And what of third place? Canada were simply in inspired mood and their epic 22-19 win over Samoa was the match of the weekend for their magical turnaround.
The Blitzbokke's win means that they lead the World Series table by one point:
1. South Africa 78 2. New Zealand. 77 3. Fiji 56 4. England 47
So, see you in Wellington, New Zealand for the next leg. Goodbye!
Awww #Rugby7s is over... now I have to wait until next year! We seriously need this on the TV all the time!!! #USA7s— Kaley Linebarger (@Kaley Linebarger) 26/01/2014 22:59
#USA7s Fans storm the field at Sam Boyd Stadium after South Africa beat New Zealand 14-7 to win the Cup. @u... https://t.co/Pba7bdEHaB— USA Rugby (@USA Rugby) 26/01/2014 22:57
South Africa skipper Kyle Brown dissects his side's tense win: "It was a lot slower than I thought it was going to be. It was a tactical warfare out there after three days of hurting rugby. It feels good to lead the World Series, the first time it's felt good since 2008/2009."
Congrats to the #BlitzBokke for doing what we all want to do to the AB's &congrats to @USASevensRugby for a successful #USA7s tournament— Mr Rugby (@Mr Rugby) 26/01/2014 22:57
Massive congratulations to @bokrugby #blitzbokke. #TopOfTheLeague #Vegas #USA7s— Catherine McGrenera (@Catherine McGrenera) 26/01/2014 22:57
A jubilant, if disbelieving South Africa coach, Neil Powell: "It was very intense and what a gutsy performance that was from the guys. They all played for each other. Just the way they showed the commitment was tremendous. There is still a long way to go to keep us at the top."
CUP FINAL: SOUTH AFRICA 14-7 NEW ZEALAND
A tentative opening after the break. Gillies Kaka overcooks a lineout and Werner Kok springs into action and goes into the corner. The conversion is incisive from the corner too and BlitzBokke take the lead. It's open rugby now. Add to that a large dose of tension. With 30 seconds left New Zealand need a converted score but South Africa hold on and defend their title! CONGRATULATIONS BLITZBOKKE!
Watching #USA7s #rugby for the first time. What a rockin game this is! Totally been missing out!— Paul Nemeth (@Paul Nemeth) 26/01/2014 22:43
Geraint John, Canada coach, third in USA: "I thought we played really well. The second half performance, the restarts, you have to give everyone compliments. Finishing third in the world, it is not often you can say that. With a lot of high school teams here, hopefully it will give them encouragement and give our players a little bit of a spotlight which is brilliant and they deserve every spotlight they get."
CUP FINAL: SOUTH AFRICA 7-7 NEW ZEALAND
Not a classic opening, more an utterly bruising, physical encounter. At one point, four players are down in one way or other. Branco du Preez off for a concussuon check after one huge hit on Waisake Naholo. The BlitzBokke are pegged back in their 22 for most of the half but on a rare visit forward, Du Preez finishes off a quick-pass move right on the hooter. Thje final is alive.
ALERT! South Africa leak only their second try of the weekend! Waisake Naholo floats one wide and Scott Curry jumps, gathers and goes over the line for the opening try for the Kiwis.
RT @IRBSevens: Congrats to Canada @rugbycanada for finishing third! #usa7s http://t.co/SR9r7Rp5Oz— Canadian Rugby 7s (@Canadian Rugby 7s) 26/01/2014 22:27
20mins of contact rugby Newzealand vs South Africa Finals #USA7s— It Doesnt Mata (@It Doesnt Mata) 26/01/2014 22:25
Here we go, the La Vegas Cup Final. The stingiest defence out there, defending champions South Africa, against the skill and guise of New Zealand, who have never won the title here. Will it be a cracker?
What a game and what a comeback! @RugbyCanada @phillymack07 @IRBSevens #thirdplaceishuge #USA7s http://t.co/bvoGCn6lIv— Alex Locke (@Alex Locke) 26/01/2014 22:20
Wow Samoa should feel a bit hard done by with that loss two of Canada's tries were highly questionable #usa7s #sevens #irb #iloverugby— B (@B) 26/01/2014 22:19
THIRD PLACE: CANADA 21-19 SAMOA
The beauty of Sevens is that 12-0 is not a tall order, but Samoa indulge themselves with a surge upfield from the opening kick and skipper Reupena Levasa goes over. Perhaps a little too late? Conor Trainor bundles over after a neat passage of play from Canada. Well, well! Samoa have their backs against the wall now as John Moonlight drives low and hard to edge over the line. Canada are within five points and they sense blood. Philip Mack then ends a coast-to -coast move with a run right into the corner to level. The conversion hits the post! but this match ends even more thrillingly as Canada earn a lask-kick penalty and Mack sends it over. BRILLIANT, QUITE BRILLIANT!
Still a half of rugby to play! Lets get it back! #USA7s @RugbyCanada— Rory Wilmer (@Rory Wilmer) 26/01/2014 22:09
THIRD PLACE: SAMOA 12-0 CANADA
A thumping start from the Samoans. Fomai Ah Ki bundles over the line to breach the Canadian lines. Moments later Ah Ki cuts through once more and finds open country on his way to a second try. A 20-year-old youngster to watch.
RT @seblauzier: England coach Simon Amor disappointed with @USASevensRugby performance. Work to do for @IRBSevens Wellington defence http:…— IRB Sevens (@IRB Sevens) 26/01/2014 22:00
It's a bit of a longshot but I hope Canada can pull off a win here in the 3rd/4th place play off. #USA7s— Rob van den Heuvel (@Rob van den Heuvel) 26/01/2014 21:59
Third-place match up next. Two sides who have enjoyed a fine weekend, Samoa v Canada.
PLATE FINAL: AUSTRALIA 24-26 ENGLAND
Double try straight from the off. In-form Marcus Watson turns on the obligatory gears, Mike Ellery then splits the Aussie defence with a superb angled run. There are a few jangled nerves though as Greg Jeloudev powers over with two minutes left. And Shannon Walker hauls the deficit back to within two. From the restart, England kick into touch. Comeback denied.
RT @IRBSevens: RT 'The American commentator for #USA7s has been as entertaining as the rugby! Some hilarious one liners & mad enthusiasm @S…— Heather Cooper (@Heather Cooper) 26/01/2014 21:50
PLATE FINAL: AUSTRALIA 12-12 ENGLAND
Tom Mitchell has had a fine weekend and breaks through the Aussie lines for the opener. But Cameron Clark has been of equal measure and he bursts through - and past Mitchell - to level up and edge ahead of the Englishman is leading scorer in Vegas with 44. Jeff Williams then carves apart the Aussie lines to regain the lead after two failed tackles. But Australia steal a march at the hooter to level up.
“@IRBSevens: And it's @fijirugby that win the Bowl by beating @KenyaSevens in the final at #usa7s http://t.co/GWP1nyBA0N” yay #gofiji #boom— Christina (@Christina) 26/01/2014 21:35
A right old rivalry up next. England v Australia in the Plate Final...
Osea Kolinisau on Fiji's Bowl triumph: "This doesn't make up for the tournament as we planned to win this weekend. We are playing for our places for Wellington and I am glad the coach [Ben Ryan] said what he did as it made the boys work harder."
BOWL FINAL: KENYA 0-35 FIJI
As most are saying on Twitter, the Kenyans are indeed running into a Fijian wall. They are being overun by sheer power and Henry Seniloli heaps more misery on Kenya from a loose ball pick up. Leo Naikasau underlines the raw strength bu surging over the line for their fifth try.
#USA7s Rare scene but a FIJI player down and needing attention , we did say the tackles make a thundering noise... http://t.co/AnY74FJaJJ— EthnicMedia360Sports (@EthnicMedia360Sports) 26/01/2014 21:24
BOWL FINAL: KENYA 0-21 FIJI
Levani Botia cuts through five Kenyan jersies for the opening score. This is unlikely to be the last score. Sure enough, it's fast and frenetic, a touch of argy bargy thrown into the mix to. A lively but scrappy affair to say the least. Fiji double the lead before the break as Donasio Ratubuli dives over before Samisoni Viriviri powers over from an over lap.
Congratulations to @USARugby who claim some silverware on home soil at tr #USA7s with the Shield http://t.co/TiKjl6sJDz— IRB Sevens (@IRB Sevens) 26/01/2014 21:09
Here's the USA's Zack Test: "We showed real character there after coming away with nothing on the first day. To beat Spain, get some points was great. We have a great group of guys and we are heading in the right direction before Wellington."
SHIELD FINAL: SPAIN 0-31 USA
Another score and victory is the USA's. If there is a defining moment for it then step forward speedster Carlin Isles, who runs 'for miles and miles' to make certain. Zack Test then finishes off the match in style. Thoroughly deserved win.
SHIELD FINAL: SPAIN 0-19 USA
Nick Edwards steps through the gears to hand the US the lead. Can they stamp their authority? However, the brutal weekend has taken its toll on dangerman Stephen Tomasin, who limps off. The US juggernaut continues though as Edwards goes on another mazy run before an easy run-in for Brett Thompson. On the hooter, Zack Test angles this way and that from a winning turnover and this is a deserved lead.
Roughly 22mins to go b4 The Pride of Africa takes on Fiji #USA7s....come on SHUJAAs u can win this #LoudnProudSHUJAAs— LoudProud #SHUJAA™ (@LoudProud #SHUJAA™) 26/01/2014 20:48
Welcome back to the final five matches in Las Vegas. Here's what's coming up and there are some enticing clashes looming.
SHIELD FINAL: SPAIN v US
BOWL FINAL: KENYA v FIJI
PLATE FINAL: AUSTRALA v ENGLAND
THIRD PLACE: SAMOA V CANADA
CUP FINAL: SOUTH AFRICA V NEW ZEALAND
A short break now of 20 minutes so join us then for the four Finals and the third-place play-off.
Tough loss for Canada against #NewZealand in the #USA7s Cup Semis. Heads up guys! Now to play Samoa in the 3rd/4th at 2pm PT #GoCanadaGo— Bryan Kelly (@Bryan Kelly) 26/01/2014 20:15
Kiwi coach Gordon Tietjens: "Canada took it to us and full credit to them. The final is another game and replica of last yar's final. We have never won in Vegas so we are going to give it a good go."
CUP SEMI-FINAL: CANADA 7-26 NEW ZEALAND
Canada are buoyed by an early run as John Moonlight powers free. He's hauled down 10 metres out but we can tell from that run who the majority of the stadium want to win! It's heartbreak moments later as Tim Mikkelson takes on Moonlight with a dainty wrongfoot and his huge stride takes him under the posts. Inside support from Bryce Heem then guarantees the win under the posts.
The only team to have scored against the #BlitzBokke at #USA7s this weekend is @KenyaSevens in the PoolA-stages.— blitzbokke.com (@blitzbokke.com) 26/01/2014 20:12
.@Carlin_Isles has been in great form on home soil #USA7s http://t.co/QF4EfYZEXp— IRB Sevens (@IRB Sevens) 26/01/2014 20:03
CUP SEMI-FINAL: CANADA 7-12 NEW ZEALAND
John Moonlight picks up and drives to the line before Philip Mack wins the turnover and seals the perfect start for Canada as well as the easiest of tries. It spurs the Kiwis into life and Scott Curry finds space through a loose Canadian defence to level up. A loose ball at the line out then hands New Zealand the lead at the hooter but the Canadians have been impressive here.
#CANADA… WE… ARE… READY! @RugbyCanada #HistoryIsMade @irbsevens #Sevens #USA7s http://t.co/DapMs8Tp0h— Kirk Reynolds (@Kirk Reynolds) 26/01/2014 19:57
.@bokrugby through to the Cup final in USA, still only having conceded one try! #USA7s— IRB Sevens (@IRB Sevens) 26/01/2014 19:57
CUP SEMI-FINAL: SOUTH AFRICA 14-0 SAMOA
Samoa again start brightly, but they can't edge over the line. After another move coms to noting, the ball falls to Sampie Mastriet,who scampers through under the posts but does his hamstring in the process. It's frustrating for the Samoans and South Africa make it to a third Cup Final in a row. Superb.
the #USA7s looks jst as jam packed as yesturdays game. all SAMOAN fans tho lol #HeyNow #ManuSamoa— BABYGIRL (@BABYGIRL) 26/01/2014 19:52
Great way to end the half @BlitzBokke .@HorneFrankie a natural winger!! #USA7s— Rasikh Syed (@Rasikh Syed) 26/01/2014 19:45
South Africa makes try with 0:00 on the clock #USA7s— @MrBlu_AllDay (@@MrBlu_AllDay) 26/01/2014 19:44
CUP SEMI-FINAL: SOUTH AFRICA 7-0 SAMOA
It's Samoa who start the brightest, pegging the BlitzBokke back into their 22. It's a tight and nervy affair, with the Samoans looking likely to score first. South Africa's defence is rock solid though. The first chance falls to Branco du Preez, who kicks and runs but can't quite puts hands down for the try. And just when a VERY RARE SCORELESS HALF looms, Chris Dry powers through under the posts after the hooter.
South Africa up next in the Cup semi-final Samoa. Want several reasons why they are the strongest team over the past two days of competition?
Scoring a try every 39 seconds of their possession and an average of 31.8 points per match whilst conceding only one try. 76% of their tries have been scored with no ruck/maul in the build-up. They have the 2nd lowest rucking rate (behind Fiji) at 1 every 31.4s, thus avoiding the highly-contested breakdown at Las Vegas 7s.
PLATE SEMI-FINAL: FRANCE 12-21 ENGLAND
Dan Norton doesn't release and is handed a yellow with four minutes left on the board. Julien Candelon immediately scores but needs ice treatment on a leg injury. Marcus Watson keeps England in the hunt with an open road try down the middle and he ensures a place in the Plate Final against Australia.
The @BlitzBokke are kicking off shortly, I can't wait!! #USA7s— JudgeRugby (@JudgeRugby) 26/01/2014 19:24
We need to keep playing Fiji, AB7s, SA, England, Samoa etc. We only get better. Sand in my eyes again & work kesho. #jetlag #kenya7s #usa7s— Aruné Ngare (@Aruné Ngare) 26/01/2014 19:26
PLATE SEMI-FINAL: FRANCE 14-0 ENGLAND
Tom Mitchell - who at 143 points has racked up the most points this season - motors through the French defence on an angled run and converts his own try. Mitchell finds Cracknell with a looping pass and a hand-off to Dan Bibby confirms England's fine start by jogging over the line.
ENGLAND!! Let's go boys!! (sorry my French friends). #usa7s @commanderbutch #rugby7s— Chiraqi (@Chiraqi) 26/01/2014 19:13
PLATE SEMI-FINAL: AUSTRALIA BEAT ARGENTINA 24-19
In sudden death, the Aussies win the toss, collect from the kick-off and Peter Schuster earns the winning try after one minute of extra-time.
PLATE SEMI-FINAL: ARGENTINA 19-19 AUSTRALIA
Jesse Parahi looks to spread wide but spins through the Pumas' defence to level up, but only after Cameron Clark's incisive conversion. But Joaquin Paz dives low through two Wallabies to retain parity. The Aussies need a converted try to tie this one... and the magical Shannon Walker cuts through and holds off two tackles. The conversion is over too! EXTRA-TIME!
PLATE SEMI-FINAL: ARGENTINA 12-5 AUSTRALIA
It is indeed a bruising opening as both sides find their ryhthm. Once they do it's Argentina who prevail. Diego Palma hops and then angles through the Aussie defence, as his shirt nearly unravels from one outstretched hand. The Pumas double the lead as Lucas Maguire picks and drives through three Wallabies. At the hooter, Perahi finds Greg Jeloudev to close the gap.
RT @seblauzier: @benjaminryan talks to his @fijirugby players after their @IRBSevens bowl SF win in Vegas. @KenyaSevens next for them http:…— IRB Sevens (@IRB Sevens) 26/01/2014 18:48
We're on to the Plate semi-finals. A bruising encounter awaits: Argentina v Australia.
Fiji coach Ben Ryan still trying to look at the positives: "I'm still angry what happened yesterday in the New Zealand game so now we have to win the Bowl. It doesn't get any easier if you are in the Bowl competition but we have to make sure we don't drop any lower in the rankings."
SEMI-FINAL BOWL: FIJI 40-12 WALES
Samuel Cross breaks down the left touch and evades three Fijians in the process. Luck then keeps Fiji in breathing space as Emosi Mulevoro canters clear. Just as in the first-half, Fiji then blow apart the Welsh defence in quick succession to put the game to bed and earn a Bowl Final place in the process with a six try win.
SEMI-FINAL BOWL: FIJI 19-5 WALES
Two sides who have under-performed by their high standards this weekend. And Wales create the sucker punch in the opening salvos as Jason Harries goes over as Fiji go to sleep at the line out. Semi Kunatani then hops and sidesteps brilliantly to touch beneath the posts. Something out of nothing that one. Samisoni Viriviri then breaks through with more Fijian skill from a tight position. Osea Kolinisau underlines the magic on show with a two-yard blindside run and a 70-metre gallop for a hat-trick of scores.
Here's Kenya's skipper Collins Injera: "For the past two days we have had too many errors. The players are a little bit rusty so it was important we got that win and now we have to push on in the final."
BOWL SEMI-FINAL: KENYA 21-7 SCOTLAND
As Scott Hastings says behind the mic, Scotland are a passing unit - they lead the passing statistics - while their achilles heel has been getting over the line. Lee Jones bursts clear after the break, but is hauled up short. From a missed tackle moments later, Dennis Ombachi has open road ahead of him. Kenya are now in sync. Accuracy and precision passing creates space on the left flank and Billy Odhiambo scores. Collins Injera then shows true class, dissecting the Scottish defence with ease.
Been watching @IRBSevens in Vegas. What a sport! Games are short, yet intense and fast. Still learning, but enjoying the tourney #USA7s— Brent Jamison (@Brent Jamison) 26/01/2014 18:14
BOWL SEMI-FINAL: KENYA 0-7 SCOTLAND
It's a tentative opening from both sides, and it takes the hooter for the first score to develop as Lee Jones goes over for Scotland.
Time for #7sWhoAmI.....tweet your answers for a chance to win a virtual signed photo! Clue 2 in the second half http://t.co/biPDHsuqtH— IRB Sevens (@IRB Sevens) 26/01/2014 18:06
SHIELD SEMI-FINAL: USA 28-14 URUGUAY
Zack Test puts in an almighty tackle, the hit creates the turnover and Carlin Isles has the ball. There is only one result, a 50-metre canter to the line. Two skilfull offloads by Uruguay sees Sebastian Cuello go over for a deserved score and they are now within one score. It's an error-strewn ending though and Test gleefully picks up a loose ball to earn the win.
Look for us! 50 meter line #USA7s #Vegas7s #rugby http://t.co/m06bBPMDT0— Jen Humphries (@Jen Humphries) 26/01/2014 17:54
SHIELD SEMI-FINAL: USA 14-7 URUGUAY
Zack Test asks whether 'anyone is home' down the right flank. 'Me home' finishes the commentator and the USA's leading try scorer opens proceedings angling in on the corner. Brett Thompson, the Arizona Wildcat flyer, then turns on the gas to create space on the right to double the lead. But Uruguay have shown a wealth of potential this weekend and Juan de Freitas pulls a score back thanks to sheer power to reel off two tackles.
RT @seblauzier: @Spain7s after their @IRBSevens shield SF win against neighbours Portugal. Winner plays @USARugby or Uruguay http://t.co/j6…— IRB Sevens (@IRB Sevens) 26/01/2014 17:45
The next #7sWhoAmI quiz coming up after this match. Stay tuned to win a virtual signed photo! #USA7s— IRB Sevens (@IRB Sevens) 26/01/2014 17:42
SHIELD SEMI-FINAL: SPAIN 19-12 PORTUGAL
No early cobwebs for both teams here despite the early start. Back come Portugal after the break but after a ding-dong battle in the middle of the park, Spain edge clear at the death and hold on to reach fine Shield Final.
Some serious skills being shown at the Las Vegas Sevens #USA7s— Saturday RugbyChat (@Saturday RugbyChat) 26/01/2014 17:35
Check out this photo via @jonesharry3 from yesterday's games! Can you say #warrior?! #USA7s #GoCanadaGi #Instagram http://t.co/VcQM80MXKD— RugbyCanada (@RugbyCanada) 26/01/2014 17:35
SHIELD SEMI-FINAL: SPAIN 14-7 PORTUGAL
Young speedster Nuno Guedes opens the scoring for Portugal. But it doesnt't take long for Spain to find their rhythm, scoring twice down the middle and they take the lead at the hooter.
We are all set. The semi-final of the Shield is upon so let's start with a rivalry: Spain v Portugal.
As well as providing compelling entertainment from the Boyd Stadium, we also like to test the ol' grey matter here on the live blog. We will have another double dose of #7sWhoAmI later, where we test you on your sevens knowledge about the great athletes who play, and have played, the game.
So, what can we look forward to today?
CUP: Defending champions South Africa v Samoa (the only two sides to have won in Las Vegas) and Canada (reaching their first Cup semi final since 2000) v New Zealand
PLATE: Argentina v Australia and France v England
BOWL: Kenya v Scotland and Wales v Fiji
SHIELD: Spain v Portugal and USA v Uruguay
Yesterday, Canada performed heroics to reach only their second-ever Cup semi-final in IRB Sevens rugby. They joined defending USA Sevens champions South Africa, New Zealand and Samoa in the final four.
South Africa, the most recent winners on the HSBC Sevens World Series, have conceded just seven points in their four matches so far at the Sam Boyd Stadium and beat Argentina 36-0 in their quarter-final. The Cup may be the one everyone wants to win, but the Plate is equally important for World Series points, and that competition is stacked with stylish teams.
Hello and welcome. Were you with us yesterday? If you weren't, you missed some scintillating Sevens. It was a day that sorted out the final group placings before the semi-finals of the Shield, Bowl, Plate and Cup were confirmed.
Relive the best of the action below...