Black Ferns Sevens unbeaten on day one in Cape Town
New Zealand's Black Ferns Sevens were untroubled to claim an HSBC SVNS quarterfinals place in Cape Town on Saturday, but the All Blacks Sevens suffered two losses and only scraped through as one of the best third-placed pool finishers.
It was a day of upsets in the men's section, with New Zealand losing 7-19 to Canada in its opening game and 14-21 to Samoa, but the defending champion Samoans missed the quarterfinals.
Scott Curry's last-minute converted try against them gave the All Blacks Sevens a bonus point, and that edged them into the quarterfinals.
Samoa's win was its first as earlier it lost to Australia 7-27, and then 7-26 to Canada.
New Zealand will play Ireland, who downed hosts South Africa in the last game of the day to qualify, in their quarterfinal at 9.56 pm on Sunday.
Things looked promising when Sione Molia scored in the first minutes against Canada, with Tepaea Cook Savage adding the conversion. But that proved the end of the All Blacks Sevens' scoring as Canada scored two first-half converted tries in the fifth and seventh minutes, while Jack Carson scored the only try of the second half for the 19-7 win.
But shocked by that result, New Zealand exploded in a sizzling first half against Australia, scoring 35 points. Moses Leo opened the assault with a try in the first minute, followed by Leroy Carter, whose hat-trick of tries in the second, third and sixth minutes gave them an unassailable lead.
To put the icing on the cake, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black added another before the break. He also added four conversions before Curry added a fifth. Australia's Hayden Sargeant scored a consolation try in the 12th minute.
Molia scored another first-minute try against Samoa, but the defending champions crossed in the third and seventh minutes through Motu Opetai and Taunuu Niulevaea to lead 14-7 at the turn. Elisapeta Alofipo extended their lead a minute into the second half before Curry scored on the bell, with Cook Savage converting for the vital bonus point.
On Sunday, the Black Ferns Sevens will play Canada in their quarterfinal at 9.06 pm.
Their path was on the back of a 37-5 win over Britain, 22-12 over Brazil and 33-7 over Ireland.
Jorja Miller said: "Last week was a grinding tournament. We were not disappointed, but we knew we had to be better so to come out here today, get three [wins], and be ready, with some good prep, to get into tomorrow."
In their opening game, the Black Ferns swamped Britain to lead 22-0 by halftime.
Michaela Blyde opened the scoring in the first minute before Portia Woodman-Wickliffe scored in the fourth and fifth minutes. Jazmin Felix-Hotham scored in the first minute of the second half, and then Blyde scored her 199th international sevens try in the 10th minute, with Shiray Kaka completing the scoring in the 12th.
Britain scored their only try ahead of the final hooter to Rhona Lloyd.
Brazil proved a tougher nut to crack in their second game, opening the scoring in the third minute when Marina Fioravanti scored. But New Zealand responded through Risi Pouri-Lane in the fifth minute, and Stacey Waaka before the break, for a 10-5 lead.
Alena Saili scored soon after the restart, with Felix-Hotham following almost immediately. Bianca Silva scored in the eighth minute to complete Brazil's scoring.
Ireland scored a try in the fourth minute to Megan Burns and denied New Zealand until the sixth minute when Miller opened their account with a try. Felix-Hotham followed a minute later as the Black Ferns led 14-7 at halftime.
It was all one-way Black Ferns traffic in the second half, with Waaka scoring in the 9th, Tenika Willison in the 12th and Mahina Paul crossing in the 15th.