HSBC SVNS: Great Britain secure Grand Final spot; New Zealand and Australia in semis

We recap the second day of action in Singapore as Great Britain secure the final spot at the Grand Final in Madrid, as New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and France advance to the semi-finals.

Great Britain have secured the final spot in the Grand Final in Madrid but could not advance to the semi-finals, with New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and France through to fight it out for the HSBC SVNS Singapore title.

Eighth-place GB had already won 35-5 in their crucial pool game against ninth-place Brazil, but needed Fiji to beat Japan in their thrilling knockout game to confirm their place in Madrid. 

Their Singapore cup run, however, was ended by New Zealand, who continue their hunt for the League Winners title in the semi-final tomorrow against Fiji.

Australia and France will face each other in the other Singapore semi-final after winning their respective quarter-finals against Ireland and Canada. 

Pool stage wrapped up 

New Zealand, Ireland and Canada advanced from Pool A after the series leaders beat Canada 31-7 and Ireland secured a 21-7 victory against Spain. 

With a quick-fire brace from Michaela Blyde, the Black Ferns Sevens built on a 12-0 half time to top the pool, while Ireland responded to an early Spanish score with five of their own.

In Pool B, France beat the USA 19-15 to take top spot as Japan beat South Africa 34-7 in their quarter-final shootout. 

Lili Dezou, Montserrat Amedee and Marie Dupouy all crossed for France in the first five minutes to leave the Americans winless in the Singapore pool stage, and Yukino Tsujisaki was the hattrick hero for Japan in their victory, keeping their slim chance at a place in Madrid alive. 

Great Britain beat Brazil 35-5 in Pool C to sneak into the Cup quarters and take a huge step towards the Grand Finals in Madrid. 

“We were all really disappointed with how yesterday had gone, but we knew that today was a new opportunity and we’re just really excited," said GB's Isla Norman-Bell after the game.

“We knew that we’d put in the work behind the scenes and we had analysed Brazil so we knew exactly what we were going to do coming into this game.

“I think that’s all we could be worried about. We did that on the pitch and we got a great score from that.”

They advanced alongside Fiji and Australia, despite Australia handing Fiji and 60-0 defeat in their final pool game, Maddison Levi scoring three to take her total beyond 50 for the season.

Japan come close 

Japan came within centimetres of their first ever semi-final, but a late knock on saw Fiji advance with a 12-10 victory. 

12-0 down with two minutes to go, Japan scored twice to draw within two points and came so close to adding a winner.

A nervy, error-strewn first half had Fiji 7-0 in front, Ana Maria Naimasi getting the first try just before the first half, and while Japan looked better in the second, Fiji turned lung-busting defence into attack, Adi Vani Buleki going coast to coast for another.

Japan clicked into gear with two minutes to go, conjuring up a brace of replies, but their dream of semi-final rugby was cut down by a crucial Fiji cover tackle on knocking the ball out of Japanese hands centimetres short of the try line. 

New Zealand power on 

New Zealand proved too strong for Great Britain as they strode to a 24-5 win.

The series leaders were two tries to the good after the first half thanks to Risi Pouri-Lane and Theresa Setefano, but Lisa Thomson’s break early in the second showed GB weren’t out of it just yet, Ellie Boatman eventually getting over in the corner.

Georgia Miller strode away for New Zealand’s third, Risi Pouri-Lane adding a late fourth, and while the Blacks Ferns Sevens advance to the semis, there were injury worries for both Tyla King and Shiray Kaka.

Australia into semi-final

A clinical Australia cantered to a 24-14 win over Ireland to reach the semi-final in Singapore.

Maddison Levi and Faith Nathan each got a score in the opening three minutes as Australia stifled Ireland’s attack with an aggressive defensive line.

Australia extended their lead through Madison Ashby and Teagan Levi, two Irish scores from Erin King and Emily Lane coming too late to mount a comeback.

France shut out Canada 

France beat Canada 24-0 to advance to face Australia in the Singapore semi-final.

France took the upper hand late in the first half, Valentine Lothoz crossing to take them 7-0 ahead. 

Lothoz had found space again after the break, and despite a determined Alysha Corrigan dragging her down short of the line, Seraphine Okemba was there for the offload and second score.

Charity Williams hustled in defence, to deny Okemba a second, but France were too strong with Canadians in the bin as Camille Grassineau and Cleo Hagel crossed.