Rugby Sevens: Black Ferns Sevens unbeaten through poolplay at Dubai, All Blacks Sevens fall to South Africa

Flyer Stacey Waaka has scored a try double to propel the Black Ferns Sevens through poolplay unbeaten, as the NZ women begin the defence of their World Rugby sevens series crown at Dubai.

After opening wins against South Africa and Great Britain, the Ferns had to be at their best to overcome Fiji 29-21 and secure the easier quarter-final draw on day two.

As they had in their first two outings, New Zealand started slowly, allowing the Pacific Islanders to strike first, with a converted try to Adi Vani Buleki.

Alena Saili scores a try against Fiji.
Alena Saili scores a try against Fiji. Photo credit: Getty Images

Jazmin Felix-Hotham responded, before Waaka scored her first try for a 12-7 halftime lead. The Fijians regained the advantage with a converted try to Reapi Ulumisau after the restart, but Alena Saili and Waaka finally swung the contest to the world champions with consecutive scores.

"We had mixed results," said Waaka. "We had a slow start, but I was in the stand watching last year and I'm really grateful to be out there with the girls.

"We're pretty stoked to get that win - just - against Fiji."

The Black Ferns Sevens achieved the result without captain Sara Hirini, who suffered a knee injury against the British and sat out the final pool outing. Her short-term prognosis is still unclear.

"She's in our thoughts always," said Waaka. "We love Gossy and we have her back to the death."

They now face Brazil in the quarter-finals at 6:30pm Sunday (NZ time), while archrivals Australia take on United States, Fiji against France and Ireland against Canada. 

Meanwhile, the All Blacks Sevens - also defending their world series title - weren't so fortunate, suffering a 21-19 loss to South Africa to close out their pool account.

They needed last-gasp tries against both Canada and Samoa to take out their opening games, but began strongly against the Blitz Boks, leading 19-7 at halftime, through tries from Tepaea Cook-Savage, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black and Moses Leo.

South Africa kept them scoreless through the second half, and took victory with tries to Ronald Brown and Msande Mtshali.

The result leaves the NZ men a last-eight showdown against United States at 8:42pm Sunday, with South Africa up against Australia, Fiji facing Ireland and Samoa taking on Argentina.

Black Ferns Sevens 29 (Waaka 2, Flex-Hotham, Saili & Paul tries; Pouri-Lane 2 conversions) Fiji 21 (Buleki, Ulunisau & Moceisawana tries; Naimasi 2 & Cavuru conversions) 

All Blacks Sevens 14 (Curry & Rush tries; Rokolisoa & Cook-Savage conversions) Samoa 12 (Niuula & Masefu tries; Canlan conversion)

South Africa 21 (Nortje, Brown & Mtshali tries; Brosn 2 & Geduld conversions) All Blacks Sevens 19 (Cook-Savage, McGarvey-Black & Leo tries; Cook-Savage 2 conversions)