Pumas oust Fiji in Paris Sevens
May 28, 2000

Argentina caused the shock of the tournament here on Sunday when they beat series leaders Fiji 35-21 to put New Zealand in pole position to take the inaugural World Sevens Series title.

Fiji, who must hope that Australia beat New Zealand in the semi-finals if they are to retain their lead and take the Series, were a shadow of the side that dominated Saturday's pool matches as the Argentines refused to be intimidated and ran in five tries to Fiji's three.

Argentina will play South Africa, who beat Canada 24-7, in the semi-finals while New Zealand, who beat France 19-0, meet old foes Australia, 26-21 conquerors of England.

It had all looked so good early on when Fijian playmaking genius Waisale Serevi created the first try with a quite wonderful one-handed pick-up off his bootlaces inside his 22 and released Temesia Kaumaia, who broke two tackles and ran it in under the posts.

Argentina hit back almost immediately as Francisco Leonelli burst through from 20 metres out to draw the South Americans level and then a suicidal pass along the 22 went straight to Argentine captain Pedro Baraldi, who seized the gift with aplomb.

With Fijian pride stung and having gone behind for the first time in the tournament they reacted with a stunning riposte as the to put it mildly well built Aporosa Dauvucu, who started on the right wing and ended up running 70 metres diagonally into the left hand corner to score his sixth try of the weekend to put the sides level at the break.

Baraldi led from the front and scored his second in the early seconds of the second-half which was supremely converted by Fernando del Castillo from the far touchline.

The Argentines then delivered what looked like being the killerblow as Francsico Leonelli touched down under the posts though the Fijians hit back to reduce the difference to seven points when Daniele Baleinadogo touched down.

However, the Fijians day was summed up when another wild pass this time by Serevi passed it straight to del Castillo who ran it in to seal their fate and leave the Argentines in seventh heaven.

New Zealand fought out a war of attrition with France and only opened the scoring with a last second first half try through Brad Fleming.

Amasio Valence added a second try midway through the second-half with a darting run down the right wing while Greg Newby added a third.

The French, who rarely managed to get out of their own half were further weakened when their leading tryscorer Jean-Victor Bertrand, who has six to his name, had to go off injured.

Australia looked pretty comfortable in their win over England, who as has become fashionable were booed from pillar to post, and allowed Brendan Williams to score two tries and take his total to seven for the weekend the best in the competition.

Once again England's standout performer was Ben Gollings who scored a hat-trick of tries, to take his total to five, to lend the score an air of respectability and taunted the partisan crowd with a piece of showboating for his first one.

South Africa romped home against the Canadians although they were reduced to six players when Roger Smith was sinbinned but all it did was allow the plucky Canucks to score a try through Morgan Williams.

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