Fiji have narrowed the gap on the competition leaders after finishing third at the Vancouver leg of the World Sevens Series.

Having pipped New Zealand 22-21 in the Cup quarter finals, courtesy of an intercept try in the dying seconds, Fiji were thumped 31-12 by a resurgent South Africa in the semi finals, with the Blitzboks going on to claim their first tournament victory of the season – and only their second in the past 15 legs.

Fiji recovered to defeat to World Series leaders the United States 24-14 in the third place playoff, after the Americans failed to reach the final for the first time this season.

After beating both teams ranked above them, Gareth Baber’s side are now 12 points behind the USA and five behind New Zealand with four rounds to play.

Samoa consolidated seventh place in the overall standings after another improved showing in Vancouver.

After topping their pool and reaching back to back quarter finals for the first time in almost three years, the Manu 7s were overwhelmed 35-12 by eventual finalists France.

Samoa captain David Afamasaga and Murphy Paulo celebrate a try.

Samoa captain David Afamasaga and Murphy Paulo celebrate a try. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Sir Gordon Tietjen’s side were then well beaten 33-14 by England in the fifth place semi final, leaving them in a share of seventh place for the weekend, alongside Argentina.

The World Series resumes in Hong Kong next month with Samoa drawn in the same pool as South Africa, Scotland and Japan.

Defending Hong Kong champions Fiji are pooled with New Zealand, Australia and Kenya.

Fiji and Samoa pray before their pool clash in Vancouver.

Fiji and Samoa pray before their pool clash in Vancouver. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Meanwhile, Tonga have been drawn in the same pool as Hong Kong, Zimbabwe and the Philippines for the World Series Qualifier event, from which the winner will earn core team status on the 2019-20 World Series.

The Cook Islands are grouped with Chile, Germany and Uganda, while the Papua New Guinea women’s side will face Kenya, Hong Kong and Uganda in the round robin phase.

(Source:Radio New Zealand)

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