Eight teams remain in the hunt for glory at the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2022 following an action-packed second day in Santiago, Chile.
The winners of the men’s and women’s tournaments at Estadio Santa Laura will book their place as a core team on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 and the contenders in each were whittled down to the final four on Saturday.
Poland, China, Kenya and Japan will compete the women’s semi-finals on Sunday, with the winner of those two ties playing for core status.
In the men’s tournament, meanwhile, Georgia will take on hosts Chile for a place in the final, before Germany meet Uruguay for the chance to face them in the showpiece match.
The first of those semi-finals will get underway at 11:23 local time (GMT -4) when China play Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Championship 2022 winners Poland in Santiago.
Colombia kicked off day two in style, running in four converted tries to beat Mexico 28-7, a result that ultimately secured their passage to the quarter-finals. Japan also crossed the whitewash four times in a 26-5 defeat of Kazakhstan that ensured they finished top of Pool F.
In Pool E, Argentina made sure of second place with a 34-7 defeat of Papua New Guinea before Poland rubber-stamped top spot in both the pool and seeding for the quarter-finals with a 36-12 win against Belgium. Despite defeat, the Belgians would advance to the last eight.
Kenya continued their fine from day one against hosts Chile, meanwhile, Janet Okello scoring twice in a 15-5 win for the Lionesses. In the final match of the pool stage, South Africa needed to beat China to advance to the quarter-finals but came up short despite taking a 7-5 lead in the second half, going on to lose 17-7.
China maintained that form in their quarter-final against Kazakhstan, tries from Chen Keyi, Xu Xiaoyan and Wang Xiao securing a 21-7 win and their place in the last four.
They will play Poland for a place in the final after the European side emerged comfortable winners, 36-0, against Colombia in the final women’s quarter-final. Anna Klichowska and Katarzyna Paszczyk each scored two of their side’s six tries.
The second women’s semi-final, which is scheduled to kick-off at 11:58 local time (GMT -4) on Sunday, will pit Japan against Kenya.
Christabel Lindo scored two of the Lionesses four tries to help Kenya past Argentina in the quarter-finals, while Japan impressed as they crossed the whitewash five times during their 31-0 win against Belgium.
The winners of those two semi-finals will go on to contest the women’s final, which will kick-off at 18:47 local time on Sunday. Whoever triumphs in that tie will become a core Series team.
Day two of the men’s tournament started with a bang as Uganda ran in four tries to beat Lithuania 26-19 before Pool C rivals Germany edged Uruguay 17-14, thanks to a late Tim Lichtenberg try and even later Niklas Koch penalty. Despite the agonising defeat, Uruguay still took their place in the last eight.
Zimbabwe joined Uruguay in the quarter-finals as the other best third-placed finisher, following their 36-5 defeat of Pool B rivals Jamaica. That result edged Papua New Guinea, who lost their final Pool A match 31-19 to Georgia, out of the quarter-final picture.
Second-half tries from John Tapueluelu and Amanaki Veamatahau then gave Tonga a 12-5 win against Hong Kong, and with it top spot in Pool B. Benjamin De Vidts was the hero for Chile in the final pool match of day two, meanwhile, scoring a hat-trick as the hosts beat Korea 43-0 to finish their Pool A campaign with three wins from three.
The men’s quarter-finals did not disappoint as Georgia edged into the last four with a 19-14 win against Hong Kong, which was secured via Teimuraz Kokhodze’s second try of the match early in the second half.
Georgia will play Chile for a place in the final after Los Condores wowed the home crowd with a 24-0 win against Zimbabwe in the quarter-finals. The impressive Julio Blanc, Joaquin Huici, Cristobal Game and Clemente Armstrong scored the hosts’ tries.
For the second time in the men’s tournament in Santiago Germany edged Uganda 17-14, to book their place in the last four. Uganda had built a 14-0 lead at half-time but their European opponents stormed back in the second half and secured a slender win with tries from Lichtenberg, Niklas Koch and Carlos Soteras Merz.
Germany will now play Uruguay in the semi-finals on Sunday, the match scheduled to kick-off at 12:48 local time (GMT -4). Uruguay beat Tonga in dramatic fashion in the quarter-finals, Marcos Pastore’s last-minute try securing a 17-12 victory.
The winners of the two men’s semi-finals will meet in the final at 19:20 local time. Whoever comes out on top in the showpiece match will earn core status for the 2023 Series.