SYDNEY SEVENS: Wales shock Fiji

Sat, 04 Feb 2017 05:28
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DAY ONE WRAP: Wales caused the first upset on Day One at the Sydney leg of the Sevens World Series.

The Welsh exploited the unusually high error rate of Fiji, which saw Morgan Williams complete a hat-trick of tries, to beat the Pacific Islanders and World Series defending champions 28-15.

It is a win that almost certainly sent Wales into the Cup section of the play-offs on Day Two.

Series leaders South Africa, England, the United States and New Zealand all remained unbeaten after two rounds.

Kenya matched South Africa's physicality every step of the way in a fierce and brutal battle, but a dangerous tackle in the second half allowed Seabelo Senatla to score two quick tries that saw the BlitzBoks come from behind to win 14-7 and stay unbeaten.

South Africa's Albertus Smith, in his last tournament before switching to the 15-a-side code for some Super Rugby action with the Lions, said they stuck together.

"We made it tough for ourselves," Smith said, adding: "We need to regroup and come out stronger. The challenge is to keep the ball, it is slippery and if we lose it we give it to the other team."

A scorching performance by a young Australian side in the searing Sydney sun gave them a convincing 43-14 win against Scotland and kept their hopes of contesting the Cup quarterfinals on Sunday well and truly alive.

There were early wins for The United States and Canada in Pool D, while Wales were narrow 14-12 winners over France and then stunned Fiji, who are seeking a first tournament win this season and started their day with a 40-0 defeat of Samoa.  

England had to fight hard earlier to overcome Kenya.

South Africa top the standings after the last round in Wellington and Canada and Scotland will be hoping to build on impressive performances last weekend, too.

We look at all the early pool action!

Pool A
(South Africa, England, Kenya, Japan)

Japan made their opponents work hard, but there was some brilliant work from England as Phil Burgess swung it wide to Ruaridh McConnochie, who powered his side into the lead. Dan Norton's pace saw him score his 231 try in Sevens, following great work from Burgess and captain Tom Mitchell - which saw England take a 14-0 lead into the half-time break.

England finished the job in style as Richard de Carpentier attracted Japan's defence to him like a magnet and that left Charlie Hayter free to run one in under the posts.

The Kenyans managed to go into half-time with a 7-0 lead. Branco du Preez did well to deny Willy Ambaka by pushing him JUST into touch. However, a clever, deceptive pass from magic man Collins Injera put Augustine Lugonzo in the clear for the opening half's only try.

A yellow card to Eden Agero, for a high tackle, opened the door for the BlitsBoks. And it was Seabelo Senatla's pace that got South Africa on the board as they ran from deep inside their half. A kick-and-chase by Rosco Speckman allowed Senatla to get a second try less than a minute later. The BlitzBoks hung on for a hard-earned 14-7 win.

England 19-12 Kenya
South Africa 32-9 Japan
England 26-0 Japan
South Africa 14-7 Kenya

Pool B
(Fiji, France, Wales, Samoa)

Jeremy Aicardi opened the scoring for France against Samoa, as the Pacific Islanders stopped playing - thinking the ball had gone into touch - allowing Aicardi  to walk over. Sacha Valleau scored next, as the Samoans showed their lack of experience on defence. Samoa eventually got on the board through the blistering pace of Samoa Toloa - making it 10-7 at the break.

A brilliant kick-and-chase, along with a fortuitous bounce, saw Laaloi Leilual opened the second-half scoring. However, a high tackle and yellow card to Lafaele Tuliu Vaa allowed Jeremy Aicardi to score the match-winning try - 17-14.

A Fijian mistake from the kick-off allowed Morgan Williams to open the scoring for Wales, but the Pacific Islanders hit straight back through Alivereti Veitokani. Owen Jenkins reclaimed the lead for Wales, following some great inter-passing and a sloppy Fijian pass allowed Williams to intercept and get his second try - stretching the lead to 21-5. There was enough time for Joeli Lutumailagi to pull one back just before the break.

Sloppy Fijian defence allowed Williams to complete his hat-trick less than a minute into the second half - 28-10. Fiji got themselves back into the game with a Jerry Tuwai try, but Wales hung on for an historic 28-15 win.

France 12-14 Wales
Fiji 40-0 Samoa
France 17-14 Samoa
Fiji 15-28 Wales

Pool C
(Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea)

It was a lightning-quick start by the All Blacks Sevens and after a 10-pass move Rocky Khan picked out Sione Molia who had plenty of space to put his country ahead against Papua New Guinea. New Zealand used the width of the field and DJ Forbes drew in two defenders, which meant there was space elsewhere for Andrew Knewstubb. He backed himself and drove to the line for a debut try. There was a sensational finish to the half as Papa New Guinea brought the Sydney crowd to their feet. Henry Kalua roared away at full steam and he offloaded perfectly for Nathan Baramun to put his country on the scoresheet with his first-ever Sevens Series try.

With Papa New Guinea's defence having started to tire after Gairo Kapana tripped and lost possession, Regan Ware drew in the last defender and delivered the ultimate pass for Dylan Collier to score his first try of the weekend. Ware then got himself on the scoresheet, the 20th of his Sevens Series career, by demonstrating some great footwork and firing for the line.

Scotland were being blown away by the Australians - with 19-year-old Tim Anstee having delivered a stunning first-half hat-trick. The Scots went to sleep and Anstee had the vision to see a clear run for the line. Anstee then came in off the left wing and had the power and poise to drag the defender for six metres and over the line. His third wasn't too different, but James Fleming responded for Scotland.

Australia were turning it on the style in front of a home crowd and captain Sam Myers extended their lead shortly after the restart. Scotland are no strangers to coming back from the dead, of course, and Fraser Lyle reduced the deficit with three minutes on the clock, but they were then reduced to six men as Mark Robertson was shown a yellow card. There was more try time joy for the hosts - as Mick Adams and Liam McNamara got themselves on the scoresheet.

New Zealand 26-14 Australia
Scotland 26-12 Papua New Guinea
New Zealand 31-7 Papua New Guinea
Scotland 14-43 Australia

Pool D
(Canada, Argentina, United States, Russia)

In the second round match Russia eased into a 14-0 half-time lead through tries by Eduard Filatov and German Davydov - the Europeans' greater physicality exposing the South Americans' frailties.

After the break the South Americans got their passing game going and it was German Schultz that got them on the board. Lucas Belloto got the equaliser for the Argentineans, as the Russians started to struggle with the higher tempo of the game. Franco Sabato was then awarded a very dubious try, gifting the South Americans a 19-14 win.

In the North American derby Justin Douglas opened the scoring for Canada, the opportunity coming from an American error. Danny Barrett replied for the United States, as the Yanks worked the ball from right to left and back again. Martin Iosefo then scored in the right corner, from a sublime offload, but Caleb Jordan levelled the scores (14-all) right on the stroke of half-time as the Yanks coughed up the ball yet again.

Andrew Durutalo opened the second-half scoring, from yet another great offload,  then Madison Hughes stretched the lead as the Americans began to string the passes together. Don Pati then crossed under the crossbar as the Americans raced away from a frustrated Canadian team. There was just enough time for John Moonlight to get a consolation try - the US winning 31-19.

Argentina 19-22 United States
Canada 12-7 Russia
Argentina 19-14 Russia
Canada 19-31 United States

Source: @WorldRugby7s

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Pool 0
Team P W D L Pts
Spain Sevens 0 0 0 0 20
Papua New Guinea 0 1 0 0 1
South Korea 0 0 0 0 0
Pool 00
Team P W D L Pts
Uruguay 0 0 0 1 1
Pool 19
Team P W D L Pts
England Sevens 0 0 0 0 19
Pool 20
Team P W D L Pts
Uganda Sevens 0 0 0 0 2
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Fiji Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Australia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
France Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Kenya Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Russia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Team P W D L Pts
Wales Sevens