Text, Picture and Video: World Rugby
South Africa, New Zealand, France, Ireland and Kenya finished the pool stages of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens 2019 unbeaten to march into the Cup quarter-finals in style.
A crowd of 52,612 packed into Cape Town Stadium for day two of the tournament on Saturday, creating an electric atmosphere whenever their beloved Blitzboks were playing and cheering them to victories over Fiji and USA.
South Africa, New Zealand and France won all three matches to top their respective pools, while Ireland and Kenya played out an entertaining 24-24 draw in the Pool D decider with the men in green finishing top on points difference.
They are joined in the Cup quarter-finals by Fiji, Argentina and Scotland with Dubai bronze medallists England and USA the biggest names to miss out on the top eight, the latter for the first time since Singapore in April 2018. The two will now meet each other in the ninth place play-off.
The first Cup quarter-final, at 11:18 local time (GMT+2), is an all-African affair with South Africa taking on Kenya for the right to face the winner of the encounter between France and Argentina.
Ireland's reward for topping their pool is a meeting with Fiji, who turned on the style in their final match against Japan to ensure they didn't miss out on the quarter-finals twice in a series for the first time.
The Cup quarter-finals in the men's #CapeTown7s @Blitzboks v @OfficialKRU@FranceRugby v @lospumas7arg@IrishRugby— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) December 14, 2019
v @fijirugby@AllBlacks7s v @Scotlandteam
First QF kicks off at 11:18hrs (GMT+2) on Sunday #HSBC7s pic.twitter.com/PUgd1fzxXr
The last quarter-final pits New Zealand, the most successful team in series history in South Africa, against Scotland, who progressed as runners-up in Pool B after France's victory against England.
Later in the day, the other play-offs for the lower places will see Wales and Japan to again battle off 15th place as they did in Dubai, Samoa to tackle Spain for 13th and Australia to meet Canada for 11th place.
Women's | New Zealand, France and Australia head into the Cup quarter-finals of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens 2019
It was a case of third time lucky for Olympic champions Australia against USA at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens on Saturday, a 19-14 victory in their Pool C decider the first time they have beaten the Women's Sevens Eagles this season.
USA had come out on top in the Glendale Cup final (26-7) and then the bronze final in Dubai last weekend (24-7), but Emma Tonegato's try proved the difference at Cape Town Stadium.
Australia's reward is a Cup quarter-final with Pool A runners-up Fiji, while USA face another tussle for North American pride with Canada having beaten their neighbours in both Glendale and Dubai.
France finished top of Pool B after avenging their quarter-final loss to Canada in Dubai with a hard-fought 14-12 victory, a missed conversion by Ghislaine Landry proving the difference between the teams. France will play Russia, the best third-placed team, in the first of the Cup quarter-finals at 09:50 local time (GMT+2) on Sunday.
The remaining Cup quarter-final pits New Zealand against England, who edged Spain for the remaining spot. The Black Ferns Sevens certainly didn't have things all their own way on day two and had to dig deep to beat Fiji and Russia.
The play-offs for ninth-12th place will follow later in the day with Brazil facing Ireland for 11th at 13:11 before Spain tackle invitational side South Africa for ninth.