RUGBY: South Africa wins in Vancouver, but the U.S. remains in first place in men’s Sevens Series

The bad news was that the U.S. Eagles, who had been in five straight finals, didn’t make into the final of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Vancouver (CAN).

The good news is that they are still in first place, after six of the 10 stages of this year’s Sevens Series.

The U.S. and England were the only undefeated pool winners, and ended up facing each other in the quarterfinals, with the U.S. eking out a 21-19 victory. That sent the Eagles up against France and that didn’t go too well.

The French thrashed the U.S., 33-5, so for the first time this season, the American squad was not in the championship game.

On the other side of the bracket, South Africa crushed Fiji, 31-12, to move into the final, while Fiji met the U.S. for third. The Springboks won their first tournament of the season, 21-12 and the Fijians beat the U.S. in a medal match for the third time in a row this season, 24-14.

However, with the third-place finish, the U.S. has 113 points, staying ahead of New Zealand (106), Fiji (101) and South Africa (89). Importantly, the top four in this season’s standings will qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020.

The men’s Sevens Series heads to Asia for two legs: in Hong Kong on 5-7 April and in Singapore on 13-14 April. The Vancouver pool standings and playoff results are here.