HSBC SVNS 2024: Series leaders Argentina miss out as New Zealand reach final four

We recap all the action from day two at the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens as series leaders Argentina miss out on the quarter-finals and the semi-finalists are set.

HSBC SVNS series leaders Argentina failed to make the quarter-finals despite winning a thriller against Great Britain in their final pool stage game, while Ireland, France, Australia and defending champions New Zealand advanced to the final four.

Los Pumas Sevens have reached the Cup final in seven of the past eight events, a run dating back to Singapore last season, but their Hong Kong woes continued despite Tobias Wade’s golden point penalty edging GB 17-14.

Ireland’s Terry Kennedy brought the Hong Kong magic to the quarter-finals, scoring a hattrick that included the winning golden point score to almost single handily take Ireland to a 24-19 win over USA. Meanwhile, France overcame a resilient Spain 24-10 to set up a Sunday semi-final against the Irish.

The other semi-final will see Australia take on New Zealand, the former defeating South Africa 15-0 while the defending champions overcame Fiji in the final play of their quarter-final.

Today’s action has confirmed that Ireland, Fiji, France, Australia and New Zealand join Argentina in confirming their place at the Grand Final in Madrid. South Africa can also secure their spot in Spain if they beat Fiji in Sunday's 5th place playoff.

In the pools: Argentina fall short

Australia, Fiji and France all advanced from a stacked Pool A, Australia impressive in their 31-0 win over Canada and Fiji fighting to a 14-7 victory against France, Napolioni Bolaca scoring the late winner to secure their quarter-final spot.

Argentina came from seven points down to edge Great Britain 17-14 in Pool A but fell short of advancing to the final eight for the first time in over a year. Rodrigo Isgro scored twice to give them a seven-point lead, but Max McFarland scored for GB in the dying moments to force overtime. Winning a penalty on the 22, Wade slotted the kick for the win, but the HSBC SVNS 2024 leaders have to settle for a seventh-place play-off challenge against Samoa on Sunday.

Elsewhere in Pool B, New Zealand continued their Hong Kong title defence with a 12-7 win, a late try from Xavier Tito-Harris securing their top spot in Pool A.

South Africa maintained their perfect Pool C record in Hong Kong with a 26-7 victory over Samoa to take their place in a quarter-final clash with Australia. Ireland prevailed in a tight 12-5 affair against Spain, but both sides joined South Africa in the last eight.

Kennedy takes Ireland to last four

In a back-and-forth game, Kevon Williams and Aaron Cummings both crossed for the US in the first half, equalled by Ireland with Kennedy and Zac Ward’s scores for a 12-12 half time score line. Williams and Kennedy each crossed again in the second half, and nothing could separate the two sides as the hooter went, with overtime required. Chasing a kick ahead to touch down, Kennedy was the hero for Ireland.

France into the semis

France pulled away in the second half to beat Spain 24-10 after a hard-fought first period. The LA gold medallists had just a two-point lead at the break as Antoine Zeghdar’s early score was countered by Alejandro Laforga’s try. Spain were first to strike in the second half, Jaime Manteca’s score giving Spain the lead, but France soon powered away after Nelson Epée and Aaron Grandidier both showed their pace to cross, Jordan Sepho adding France’s fourth late on.

Australia keep clean sheet

Australia shut out South Africa 15-0 with a strong defensive performance to reach the semi-finals. Nathan Lawson got the first, finishing off simple hands on the right flank, the only score in a tight first half. In the second, Maurice Longbottom took on scoring duties, notching up a try and a long-range penalty to seal a final-four spot. There is still a qualification carrot for South Africa, however, as they can secure their place in Madrid with a fifth-place finish in Hong Kong.

Last-gasp New Zealand victory

Tone Ng Shiu crossed for a last minute try as New Zealand came from behind to beat Fiji 19-12 and continue their Hong Kong defence. Fiji had led 12-7 at the break thanks to tries from Ponepati Loganimasi and Joji Nasova, but the second half saw the All Black Sevens slowly break down the door of the Fijian defence. Xavier Tito-Harris scored with two minutes to go, and Fiji crucially handed back possession to New Zealand with a wayward lineout, the resulting attack seeing Ng Shiu bag the winning score.