After a modest season by South African standards, the Springboks have suddenly won two Sevens Series titles in the past three weeks to move back into contention for Olympic qualifying and even the season title.
South Africa edged Fiji, 20-19, in the Singapore Sevens Series final to move into fourth place overall, with 121 points, while Fiji maintained its hold on the second place and moved closer to the U.S., which stayed on top of the standings by placing fourth to England, losing 28-7 in the bronze medal game.
With just legs remaining, the U.S. has 145 points to 142 for Fiji, 130 for New Zealand and 121 for the Springboks. England is fifth with 107 and is the only other squad in serious contention for a top-four finish and qualification for the Tokyo Olympic tournament.
The U.S., South Africa, New Zealand and Australia all swept through group play undefeated, but Fiji edged the New Zealanders, 19-5 in their quarterfinal to advance against England, That was another win for Fiji, 26-12, and they advanced to the final only to fall a point short. South Africa scooted past the U.S., 24-12 to advance to only their second final of the season.
If the U.S. can finish 10th or better in the London leg coming up on 25-26 May, they will clinch a spot in Tokyo. Equally worth noting is that the Eagles have never finished better than fourth overall in the Sevens Series, and now sit on the top of the standings with two series remaining, in London and Paris. Summaries:
HSBC Sevens Series
Singapore (SGP) ~ 13-14 April 2019
(Full results here)
Final Standings: 1. South Africa; 2. Fiji; 3. England; 4. United States; 5. Samoa; 6. New Zealand; 7. tie, Australia and Argentina. Semis: South Africa d. U.S., 24-12; Fiji d. England, 26-12. Third: England d. U.S., 28-7. Final: South Africa d. Fiji, 20-19.