HSBC SVNS 2024: Fiji and Argentina back to their best with Championship hopes still alive

We recaps all the action at the Grand Final in Madrid as Fiji and Argentina look back to their best and two core nations are set to lose their spots for next season.

Hopes of becoming HSBC SVNS Champions 2024 are still alive for Fiji, Argentina, France and New Zealand, who will face off in the semi-finals tomorrow.

Fiji, who are 21 cup tournaments without a win, won all three pool games in Madrid, including some of their strongest performances this season in thrillers against New Zealand and Ireland. 

Also back to their best are Argentina, unbeaten in Madrid having beaten France and Australia to top Pool A. They will face New Zealand tomorrow, with Fiji taking on France. 

In the HSBC SVNS Play-offs, we are guaranteed to have two new faces on the series next season as the four SVNS 2024 sides battle it out against each other in the qualifier finals, with USA taking on Samoa and Spain facing Canada.


HSBC SVNS Championship

Pool A

Beating France and Australia, Argentina secured their spot at the top of Pool A in Madrid. A 14-0 first half lead against France, plus two more scores in the second half, gave them a 26-12 win. Against Australia it was a tighter affair, needing to come back from 5-0 down at half time through tries from Santiago Alvarez and Matteo Graziano to clinch a 14-5 victory. 

Needing a win of their own for a semi-final spot, France did just that over GB in their second game but needed extra-time to secure it. In the tightest of battles, the scores were locked at 12-12 at the final whistle, but the pace of Nelson Epée down the left wing secured their spot and broke GB hearts.

It was the second slim defeat that GB suffered in one day, having fallen to a last-gasp Australia winner from Ben Dowling in their 19-14 loss. The sides were all square at 7-7 at the break, but a late midfield scrum gave Australia the platform to swing it wide for Dowling to score the decider in the left corner.

Pool B 

Fiji started quickest in their match-up with Ireland, Joji Nasova and Jerry Tuwai crossing in the opening half to give them a 14-7 lead at the break.

They still held the lead with time running out after a stunning step from Terio Veilawa put Naduvalo over, but Jordan Conroy came to Ireland’s rescue with a try, Hugo Lennox’s conversion taking it to golden point. Fiji, however, were first to strike, slick hands ending in Naduvalo scoring his second in the right corner.

Victory against South Africa in their second game, turning a 21-0 half-time lead into a 26-7 win, saw them top their pool and qualify for the semi-finals.

After defeat to Fiji and Ireland on day one, New Zealand and South Africa faced off in a must-win game that was edged late on by the All Blacks Sevens after Moses Leo claimed a late match-winner. 

New Zealand had led 14-10 at half time, but it was South Africa who took the lead with a minute to play after a try from youngster Quewin Nortje. The All Blacks Sevens stayed patient, and after Leo took them ahead, Akuila Rokolisoa added a final score.

But the drama wasn’t over for New Zealand, needing golden point to beat Ireland and secure their semi-final spot. Hugo Keenan was the man to give his side a second shot at redemption, but Regan Ware broke Irish hearts for the second time.

HSBC SVNS Play-off

Pool A

USA won a close encounter with North American foes Canada 14-7 to secure their spot at the top of the table and consign Canada to three pool losses in Madrid. Josiah Morra had drawn Canada level with four minutes to go, but Malacchi Esdale ensured USA a play-off against winless Samoa. 

Elsewhere, Uruguay scored four tries to emerge 26-14 winners over Germany, setting up their showdown with Chile.

Pool B 

Kenya beat Chile 36-7 in their final pool game, with Germany between them and a place in the SVNS series next year. Meanwhile, Spain came away 31-0 victors against Samoa, but will have to get through fellow SVNS 2024 series side Canada to keep their core status.