New Zealand mounted an impressed comeback against Argentina to secure third position with a 26-19 victory in the Bronze final.
Cup semi-final losses to the USA and Samoa respectively meant that the duo had to settle for trying to achieve a maximum tally of 17 World Series points and the contest for bronze was an enthralling one. The early signs were that New Zealand would dominate the contest, they looked the fresher of the two and Joe Ravouvou scored within the opening seconds. However Los Pumas Sevens showed character and determination to lead 14-7 at half-time and 19-7 with four minutes to play. Fatigue then took its toll just as the All Blacks Sevens found another gear. Tone Ng Shiu and the powerful Sione Molia were the men to break Los Pumas Sevens’ hearts. Molia then finished the game by securing a vital penalty at the breakdown.
The All Blacks Sevens’ Cup semi-final against the USA started in the best possible fashion as they attempted to beat Mike Friday’s side at that stage of a tournament for the first time this season. New Zealand raced 12-0 in front thanks to tries from Sione Molia and Kurt Baker before the home team pounced. Folau Niua opened their account and a combination of Carlin Isles’ first try and Madison Hughes’ conversion pushed the USA out to a 14-12 at half-time advantage. The intensity of the contest soared in the second half as they exchanged tries before the match locked up at 19-19 heading into the final moments. With the home fans behind them, the USA Sevens Eagles played their trump card – Isles – and his hat-trick score, flying off the base of a ruck on the final play, clinched the match and won him the UL Mark of Excellence Award.
Argentina’s Cup semi-final was decidedly different to New Zealand’s and not in a good way for Los Pumas Sevens. Santiago Gómez Cora’s outfit finished day two on a high after securing a golden-point victory over England but found themselves on the receiving end of a clinical display from Samoa. Sir Gordon Tietjens men were brimming with confidence, and in their first Cup semi-final since 2016 never let their opponents settle. Captain David Afamasaga crossed within the opening minute and from there Manu Samoa were in full control. A 19-5 half-time lead turned into 33-5 before late tries for Argentina from Francisco Ulloa and debutant Franco Florio narrowed the final margin back to 33-19.