NZ, South Africa, Fiji in QFs at Tokyo Sevens
TOKYO (AP) — Heavyweights New Zealand, South Africa and Fiji advanced to the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Sevens on Saturday.
Despite a 19-14 defeat in its final group game against Australia, New Zealand still took top spot in Pool B, helped by a 38-0 hammering of Scotland in its opening game.
Sevens world series leader South Africa topped its group with three wins from three. A 26-0 thrashing of Kenya was the pick of its Pool C victories.
Fiji, chasing its first world series win in nine years, secured first place in Pool A by beating England 33-19 at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo.
In Sunday’s quarterfinals, New Zealand faces Canada, South Africa takes on Scotland, Fiji plays host Japan - which is in the knockout rounds of a series for the first time since 2000 - and France is against England.
Fiji beat South Africa in the final of the Tokyo series last year.
The top four teams at the end of the nine-leg world series gain automatic entries to the 2016 Olympics. There are only two tournaments remaining — in Scotland and England in May.
South Africa lead the standings after six rounds, but second-place Fiji came into the Tokyo series with wins in the previous two legs in Hong Kong and Las Vegas.
Third-place New Zealand is the dominant force in the world series, winning 12 of the 15 tournaments, including the last four.