Samoa miss men's quarter-finals at NZ sevens tournament

Sevens world series co-leaders Samoa failed to reach the men's quarter-finals in the biggest shock on the opening day of the tournament in Hamilton on Saturday.

Fresh from their victory in the previous leg in Cape Town, the Samoans opened with a comfortable defeat of Kenya but were toppled 21-10 in their second pool game by France.

They then needed to beat Pacific rivals Fiji to advance to the final eight on Sunday.

Samoa led 12-7 early in the second half before the two-time Olympic champions finished with a flourish, scoring tries through Viwa Naduvalo and Manueli Maisamoa to win 22-12.

Fiji were among three teams to boast perfect records in group play.

The others were hosts New Zealand and South Africa, who excelled under the sunny skies that greeted teams for the fourth round of the men's world series and the third round of the women's.

The United States and Ireland drew 14-14 to share top spot in their men's pool.

The Americans have a kinder quarter-final draw courtesy of a superior points differential and will face Australia, while Ireland line up against New Zealand.

South Africa, who shared the series lead, will face France, while Fiji meet Argentina.

Women's powerhouses New Zealand and Australia, who have won one tournament each through the first two rounds, both cruised through pool play unbeaten.

Olympic champions New Zealand didn't concede a point and racked up 105 of their own in imperious wins over Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Great Britain.

Stacey Fluhler, a star of New Zealand's 15-a-side World Cup final win in November, scored five tries across the three games.

Australia, who share the series lead with their trans-Tasman rivals, were nearly as dominant in thrashing Japan, Canada and France.

The United States topped a more tightly contested pool, beating Ireland 15-7 in the key game.

The top four countries - excluding hosts France - at the completion of both the men's and women's world series in May will qualify for the 2024 Olympics.

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