HSBC SVNS 2024: Hosts USA beat Samoa to top Pool B

We recap the action from HSBCS SNVS Los Angeles as a busy Pool B sees the USA beat Samoa in a thriller and Australia triumph over reigning champions New Zealand.

Host nation USA won a thrilling battle by 31-12 with Samoa in Pool B as the HSBC SVNS series returned to Los Angeles.

A brace from captain Kevon Williams on his 50th tournament took the Eagles to victory and the summit of Pool B, with Australia and New Zealand to play on Saturday.

Meanwhile, defending champions New Zealand lost their trans-Tasman tie with Australia by 24-17 in Pool B. Australia finished 10th last week in Vancouver but a red card for Fehi Fineanganofo helped them to victory over last week’s silver medallists.

Pool A saw plenty of drama as Argentina recovered to win 28-21 in a tense battle with Spain, while Ireland were dominant in their 17-0 win over South Africa to take an early lead in the pool.

Fiji and France were the victors in Pool C, the former snatching a 15-12 win over Great Britain before Canada were defeated 24-7 by the latter.

Pool A: Spain scare Los Pumas

Vancouver gold medallists Argentina started as per script with two tries from Tobias Wade and Marcos Moneta to lead 14-0, however Spain would go into the break just two points behind after Nico Nieto and Pol Pla responded for the 11th seeds.

Los Pumas Sevens didn’t look comfortable, but their set-piece excellence eventually came to the rescue as Joaquin Pellandini went over from a midfield scrum. The scrum was once again the source as Moneta powered over for their fourth, but Jeremy Trevithick had the last word for Spain, winning the foot race to regather his own chip and score one for the highlight reel.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s comfortable win came thanks to stunning three-try, first half performance against South Africa.

Connor O’Sullivan opened the scoring before Zac Ward crossed for a brace in a half where the Blitzboks, who won the USA tournament in 2020, were denied any real try-scoring opportunities. The second half was much the same story as South Africa butchered an easy two on one to go scoreless in their first game of the weekend.

Ireland’s match with Argentina (15:06 local time, GMT-8) promises to be a tantalising pool decider.

Pool B: Eagles take early lead

Samoa touched down first against the USA through Elisapeta Alofipo but Williams was the man to reply on his 50th tournament.

Faafoi Falaniko stole the lead on the half-time whistle, but the Men's Eagles Sevens struck back via flyer Perry Baker, William’s second establishing a 19-12 lead. Madison Hughes and Orrin Bizer both crossed to extend it and ultimately secure a 19-point victory in front of their home crowd.

In the other Pool B game, a trip from Sam Dickson earned him a yellow in the opening minute against Australia, Nathan Lawson capitalising to score the opener before Nick Malouf added a second.

Cody Vai showed special skills to grab the ball from the air and sprint the length of the field, handing the ball to the returning Andrew Knewstubb for New Zealand’s reply. Australia came straight back however, James Turner extending lead to 19-7 at the break.

Vai scored one of his own after the break to draw his side within five points, but another Australia reply from Dietrich Roache kept them at arm’s length. The red card for Fehi Fineanganofo halted the All Blacks Sevens chances of a comeback, but Xavier Tito-Harris did add a final consolation.

Pool C: Flying Fijians edge GB 

A last second score from Josese Batirerega broke Great Britain’s hearts as Fiji triumphed 15-12 in the Pool C opener.

After a season-best, seventh place finish in Vancouver, Great Britain were the first on the score board via Austin Emens, but two from Fiji, including a solo effort from Rere Ropate, saw them take a slim 10-7 lead into half-time.

A yellow to Napolioni Bolaca swung the momentum back towards Great Britain, Morgan Williams crossing to move two points ahead in what looked like a winner. But with the clock in the red, Fiji worked their magic, Batirerega eventually finding space in the left corner.

Meanwhile, Vancouver bronze medallists France won a tight battle with bottom seed Canada by 24-7 thanks to a William Iraguha brace.

Les Bleus led 12-0 at the break with two from the dancing feet of Iraguha, but Canada’s Matthew Percillier hit back in the second to tighten the scores.

However, some patient attack from France allowed them to extend their lead, Stephen Parez Edo Martin finally crossing after some touchline-to-touchline work, leaving Canada no time to make up the two-score deficit.

A flying finish from 50 metres out from Antoine Dupont capped the victory with some French flair.