Heartbreak for hosts as semi-finals confirmed in Sydney

"VAN" (Sports Desk - 29.01.2023) :: The semi-final line-up was decided following a dramatic second day at the HSBC Sydney Sevens. The men’s semi-finals see France face New Zealand and South Africa play Fiji, while USA take on France and Ireland meet New Zealand in the women's competition.

The semi-final line-up was decided at the HSBC Sydney Sevens following a dramatic second day played in front of a vibrant atmosphere at the Allianz Stadium.

Sunday’s men’s semi-finals see France face New Zealand and South Africa play Fiji. In the women’s tournament USA take on France and Ireland meet New Zealand.

For Australia there was double disappointment as France spoilt the party by eliminating both host teams - the reigning Series champions - from their home competition at the quarter-final stage.

The all-conquering Australia women’s team suffered a shock 10-5 defeat and then, in the last game of the day, a penalty by Thomas Carol also gave France’s men a 17-14 victory over the hosts at the death in the men’s competition.

Earlier on Saturday Australia, South Africa, Samoa and Fiji had made it through Pool play unbeaten in the men’s event and Hamilton winners Argentina missed out on the Cup last eight.

The action continues from 09:10 local time (GMT+11) on Sunday with the semi-finals at 15:22 and the medal matches from 19:07. The women’s cup final kicks off at 19:56 followed by the men’s final at 20:26.

The 2023 Series is shaping up to be the most competitive in history with the prize of Olympic Games Paris 2024 qualification on offer for the top four women’s and men’s teams in the 2023 Series standings, while hosts France have pre-qualified for next summer’s pinnacle event in the nation’s capital.

The Men’s Series has seen four different gold medal winners (Argentina, Australia, Samoa and South Africa) in the four rounds to date while New Zealand, Australia and the USA have claimed all the medals in the first three rounds of the women’s competition.

New Zealand lead the men’s Series standings on 63 points with USA second on 61 points and Argentina third on 59 points. In the women’s standings the Black Ferns Sevens are top on 58 points, ahead of Australia on 54 points and USA with 50 points.

The stakes couldn’t be higher at the bottom end of the men’s Series this season as well. Following the penultimate event in Toulouse, the 15th ranked team will be relegated to the 2024 Sevens Challenger Series while the 12th through 14th ranked teams will face off against the Sevens Challenger Series 2023 winner for the 12th and final position on the 2024 Series.


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