Argentina's slump is forgotten after NZ is blown away at Singapore Sevens

SINGAPORE (AP) — World series front-runner Argentina dismissed signs of a slump by blowing away titleholder New Zealand 33-5 to close the Singapore Sevens first day on Friday.

Argentina won three successive tournaments until it surprisingly crashed in the Los Angeles quarterfinals in March and failed to reach the Hong Kong quarterfinals in April, when New Zealand beat it 22-0 en route to the title.

The loss of star Marcos Moneta to a broken right fibula in Los Angeles seemed to weigh heavier when the Argentines started Singapore by losing to Australia 26-19 for the first time in 15 months.

But the doubts appeared exaggerated against New Zealand, which scored the opening try then conceded the last five tries to Argentina. Rodrigo Isgro and German Schulz crossed twice each.

Australia led their pool and qualified for the quarterfinals after edging Canada 21-14 with a late Hayden Sargeant converted try.

Unbeaten France, South Africa and the United States also made the last eight. The U.S. secured a spot after a comeback 10-7 win over Ireland, second in the series.

Fiji, a three-time Singapore champion, went winless and may need to beat Ireland on Saturday to advance.

On the women's side, leaders New Zealand and Australia went unbeaten.

New Zealand put 69 points on Ireland and Spain, and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, the most prolific try-scorer in women's series history, passed 250 tries.

Australia came to a tournament without Charlotte Caslick and Sharni Smale for the first time in six years — both are being rested — and laid 71 points on Brazil and Britain.

France, third in the standings, scored 90 on Japan and South Africa.

Only the top eight teams in the overall standings go to the Madrid grand final this month, and the eighth team will be decided between Britain and Brazil on Saturday. Both were winless on Friday.


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