France could not have asked for a better start to the bronze final, captain Jean Pascal Barraque, Pierre Mignot and injury replacement Antoine Zeghdar giving them a 17-0 lead before World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year Jerry Tuwai got Fiji on the scoreboard just before half-time. Mignot’s second try within seconds of the restart gave France a 19-point lead but Fiji can never be written off and when Veredamu was sin-binned, they pounced with two quick-fire tries from Sevuloni Mocenacagi before his brother Kavekini Tabu tied the scores with time up on the clock. Waisea Nacuqu couldn’t add the conversion for the win and instead Veredamu scored the golden try to become France’s hero.
France, bidding to reach only their second Cup final in South Africa and first since 2012, enjoyed the perfect start to the first Cup semi-final when Marvin O’Connor’s strength enabled him to touch down under pressure from Rosko Specman. Ruhan Nel’s try deep into added time tied the scores at half-time, before a horror bounce from a loose France pass allowed JC Pretorius to give the Blitzboks a lead they wouldn’t surrender, captain Sivwe Soyizwapi adding a third before a late try from Jonathan Laugel made the final score 21-14.
Two early yellow cards put Fiji on the back foot in the other semi-final, captain Paula Dranisinukula joining Meli Derenalagi on the sidelines after a no-arm tackle in stopping Tone Ng Shiu from scoring in the corner. The All Blacks Sevens were awarded a penalty try and Baker crossed against the five men of Fiji, before Regan Ware’s try but them in control at 19-0. Vilimoni Botitu gave Fiji hope on the stroke of half-time, but Baker’s pass over the top to Knewstubb at the start of the second half ensured the All Blacks Sevens reached the final.
Earlier in the quarter-finals, hosts South Africa had given their fans a little scare when Alvin Otieno gave Kenya a 5-0 lead in this all-African affair. However, two tries from Nel, where he was stopped short both times but managed to quickly reach out to ground the ball, gave them a lead they wouldn’t surrender, Selvyn Davids’ try late on ending any hopes of Kenya mounting a comeback.
Argentina struck first in the second quarter-final through Rodrigo Etchart, only for Pierre Gilles Lakafia to shrug off a tackle to edge France ahead. Franco Sabato ensured Argentina went into half-time leading 10-7, but from there it was all France, Remi Siega dancing his way down the touchline before Paulin Riva wrapped up the 19-10 win and a first semi-final of the season.