It's been a riveting first day of action at the HSBC World Sevens Series in Dubai with the only shock the form book being a 28.28 draw between Samoa and Argentina. It has been a day for records though with Argentina notching up their largest ever win on the series, Dan Norton & Ifan Evans scoring their 50th tries on the series, whilst Andrew Turnbull scored his 100th try. After winning the final in fine style last week in Gold Coast; Fiji once again led the way notching up big wins early on against Argentina and UAE before dismantling rivals Samoa. South Africa did what they had been unable to do for the past 3 years and take victory over New Zealand. The win was well deserved as the forwards guaranteed good quick ball through Brown and Horne whilst Du Preez fed his speedsters. Australia and Wales proved to be the class of Pool D and they were joined by England and France from Pool C.
It's been a riveting first day of action at the HSBC World Sevens Series in Dubai with the only shock the form book being a 28.28 draw between Samoa and Argentina. It has been a day for records though with Argentina notching up their largest ever win on the series, Dan Norton & Ifan Evans scoring their 50th tries on the series, whilst Andrew Turnbull scored his 100th try.
After winning the final in fine style last week in Gold Coast; Fiji once again led the way notching up big wins early on against Argentina and UAE before dismantling rivals Samoa. South Africa did what they had been unable to do for the past 3 years and take victory over New Zealand. The win was well deserved as the forwards guaranteed good quick ball through Brown and Horne whilst Du Preez fed his speedsters.
Wales and England joined South Africa and Fiji as group winners beating Australia and France respectively at the end of the day to give the crowd plenty to cheer about.
Kuruinovo helped Fiji make it two wins from two as his two tries assisted in a 43-0 victory over hosts UAE. Fiji went through the gears against the host nation, scoring almost at will whilst also working their patterns in preparation for tougher challenges ahead. The crowd enjoyed the first score on the series of 39 year old Vunibola.
The Gold Coast Sevens - Fever Pitch winners got their campaign off to a flying start earlier, beating Los Pumas 40-7 thanks to 26 second-half points and two tries from Joeli Lutumailag.
2009/10 Series champions Samoa defeated the hosts 55-12 in what turned out to be a tough day for the hosts. Tom Iosefo, current top scorer on the series this year, Paul Perez and Faalemiga Selesele all scored twice but Emad Reyal received the biggest cheer as he scored both of UAE's tries.
In their second match Samoa came from 21-7 behind to lead 28-21 with seconds to go, but Nicolas Fernandez Lobbe's men clinched a dramatic draw thanks to a late try from Agustin Migliore and decisive Gonzalo Gutierrez Taboada conversion.
Manuel Montero scored a hat-trick for Los Pumas in their 73-7 victory against UAE which gave the Pumas every chance of qualifying and meaning the statisticians had their calculators out working out how Samoa or the Pumas could go through.
Fiji completely dismantled Samoa in the final group game in Pool A in a game that saw 4 cards issued by the official. The physicality of the Fijians was too much for Samoa and the old general Uale Mai lost his head being sent off for reacting to a dangerous tackle by James Brown. Aside from the testy nature of the game, Fiji were the class of the group and with it knocked out Samoa from the Cup competition in a scoreline of 31.14
Pool B had an element of the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' with recent series winners South Africa and New Zealand easing past USA and Portugal guaranteeing progress before facing one another in the last game in the pool.
Defending Series champions New Zealand got off to a strong start, beating USA 40-0. Tomasi Cama and Frank Halai scored twice, and there were a further four different scorers for Gordon Tietjens' side.
Halai proved to be dominant all day as he went on to score a further two tries in their second pool match, a 31-7 victory against Portugal.
Portugal lacked the physicality to cause a shock against South Africa in their first match at 7he Sevens this year. Bernado Botha, captain Kyle Brown and William Small-Smith scored for Paul Treu's side before Frederico Oliveira added a consolation try for Portugal.
Many of the South African stars got in on the try scoring action as they defeated the USA 36-7. In the penultimate Pool B match, Portugal ensured they finished third heading into the Bowl competition after a 12-10 victory against USA, with Aderito Esteves and Duarte Moreira crossing.
All was set for a pool decider between the 2 class sides of the group; New Zealand and South Africa. South Africa had failed to beat the Kiwis on the World Series in the past 3 years but Dubai was to be the place this year as Paul Treu's team dominated possession from the opening whistle, working hard to retain ball and making New Zealand do alot of defending. Tomasi Cama was only able to enforce himself on the game late in the 2nd half as DJ Forbes scored a consolation score but Small-Smith sealed the game and the group for the Blitzbokke.
Like those in Pool B; England and France qualified for Day 2 before playing one another in the final game of the day, though whilst France looked vastly improved than in previous years behind the rugby of Albaladejo and Renuad Delmas, England lacked a little fizz whilst dominating both of their pool fixtures early on day 1.
Defending Dubai Sevens champions England began the defence of their campaign by beating Zimbabwe 43-0 thanks to two Dan Norton tries, taking his career tally to 51, and one for debutant Christian Lewis-Pratt, before Mat Turner struck twice in their 19-12 victory against Kenya.
England appeared to miss a natural scrum-half, as Turner showed his brilliance wide-out with footwork and speed but looked pressured at the scrum and break-down when playing at scrum-half.
France, who reached last weekend's Cup quarter-finals also got off to a positive start, beating Kenya 27-5 thanks to two tries from Renaud Delmas before a 26-0 victory over Zimbabwe.
In the battle for mainland Africa, Zimbabwe highlighted the struggled Kenya are presently facing without their famous names of the past such as Injera and Kayange. The Cheetahs ran out 21.5 winners over the Shujaa to take 3rd place in the pool.
England very much left the best to last. After struggling to click through the gears earlier in the day, the English put together a perfect blend of control and speed in the 2nd half against a French side that had performed well all day. Dan Norton went over for another hat-trick in the World Series but it was his inside men that created the scores such as Damu and Turner with Norton finishing things off. England won the right to take on New Zealand in the quarters and will do so with great confidence playing themselves into form.
Wales and Australia had similar mornings work, whilst never getting into 5th gear both sides had enough to despatch Canada and Scotland. Both sides struggled with small errors and penalty counts but had more than enough to win through to the Cup Quarter-Finals.
In the battle of the well-spoken for youngsters, it was all Wales. Australia opened the scoring with some incisive running but they fell short of the intensity level later in the gamerequired to match the Welsh as Richard Smith went over to score twice in the 2nd half leaving too much for Australia to do. Wales ran out 33.14 winners and with it topping Pool C and taking the 'easier' quarter final tomorrow morning.
Wales became the first side to win their opening two pool matches on day one after a narrow 15-12 victory against Geraint John's Canada thanks to Ifan Evans' 50th career try. Canada proved to be much stronger against the Welsh than earlier in the day when they looked rusty, as to be expected having not played last weekend in the Gold Coast.
The reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens champions had earlier got off to a winning start as Tom Prydie and Will Price's late effort helped Paul John's side to a 14-7 victory after Andrew Turnbull had scored the first try of the tournament.
Lewis Holland crossed for a hat-trick in Australia's first match as they defeated Pan American Games champions Canada 40-7 before they came from 7-0 behind to beat Scotland 24-12. Whilst Australia looked fluent in their first game, they struggled against Scotland continuing to give possession away before pulling away in the final minutes of the game
Scotland then overturned 7-0 and 14-12 deficits themselves to beat Canada 19-14 and finish third in the pool as Turbull scored a hat-trick in the match to take his career try tally on the World Series to 100 which was capped off with a classic chip and chase score whilst Phil Mack was in the sin-bin
Cup Quarter-Final Draw
Fiji v Australia
Wales v Argentina
South Africa v France
New Zealand v England
Bowl Quarter-Final Draw
Canada v Samoa
Zimbabwe v USA
Scotland v UAE
Portugal v Kenya
Complete Scores from Day 1 at the Dubai Sevens can found here