South Africa enjoyed a dream start against Russia, quick ball creating space out wide for Liske Lategan to have the honour of scoring their first try on home soil. Russia, beaten 38-19 by Fiji on day one, weren’t behind for long with captain Alena Mikhaltsova first brushing off a weak tackle to race away before Elena Zdrokova and Baizat Khamidova dotted down for a 19-5 lead at half-time. A strong run from Nadine Roos resulted in a try for Megh Phillips, but Russia finished strongly for a 31-12 victory.

A repeat of their Cup quarter-final in Dubai last weekend, it was Fiji who struck first as they continued their good form to work Viniana Riwai over for the opening try. The Black Ferns Sevens made a number of uncharacteristic handling errors in the first half against a physical Fiji outfit who really should have had more points on the board by the time Gayle Broughton scored with the clock in red. Stacey Waaka increased New Zealand’s lead but Asinate Savu, sin-binned just before Broughton’s try for a late tackle, went over to ensure a nervous finish. However, they couldn’t pull off their first ever win over New Zealand, the series leaders relieved to escape 12-10.

Fiji knew victory over South Africa would secure a second successive Cup quarter-final appearance and three first-half tries put them firmly in control against the host nation. The Imbokodo continued to impress in their first series event for two years, Roos scoring their second try of the weekend before Vasiti Solikoviti’s second in the match wrapped up a 27-5 win.

The final pool match did not yield a point in the first half as New Zealand and Russia failed to make the breakthrough after Stacey Waaka was adjudged by referee Joy Neville to have made a double movement in grounding the ball. Alena Saili finally broke the deadlock a minute into the second half with Gayle Broughton also crossing for a 12-0 victory.

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