Hong Kong Sevens, Day One Wrap

Date published: April 7 2017

Defending champions Fiji made a perfect start at the Hong Kong leg of World Rugby's Seven Series when they beat Japan 36-0 in their opening match.

There were also victories for World Series tabletoppers South Africa, New Zealand, England, Australia, Argentina the USA and Canada.

England's win over South Korea saw Dan Norton scoring his 245th try to become the all time top try-scorer on the World Rugby Sevens Series, moving him above Kenya's Collins Injera.

Pool A

Australia kickstarted ther campaign with a hard-fought 22-19 win over Samoa in the tournament opener. The second match of the day was saw England cruising to an easy 52-0 win over South Korea.

South Korea were causing their European opponents some headaches in the opening exchanges, but England soon raced into a healthy lead. That fixture was all about Norton, who scored his notched his landmark with a trademark chip-and-chase score.

It was a day of great achievements for England's players because Tom Mitchell, who led Great Britain to a silver medal in Rio last summer,also clocked up try number 100 of his career. 

Pool B

Canada held on for a narrow 17-14 win over Kenya with the Canucks' with Nathan Hirayama becoming his country's all-time top points scorer after converting Luke McCloskey's early try. 

Kenya drew level through a Dennis Ombachi try, but Canada hit back as two veterans combined for a beautiful score. Man of the moment Hirayama delivered a grubber kick forward and Harry Jones times his run to perfection to meet the pass and send his country ahead. Nelson Oyoo drew Kenya level again but, with the clock on zero, Hirayama kicked Canada to victory.

And in the day's last match, South Africa had to work hard before beating France 17-10. The Blitzboks were fastest out of the blocks and two early tries by Siviwe Soyizwapi and Branco du Preez gave them a 10-0 lead.

But France were soon level thanks to tries from their captain, Terry Bouhraoua, and Jean Pascal Barraque. Cecil Afrika, who became only the fifth South African to reach 50 tournaments in the series when he took the field, scored the decisive try for South Africa.

Pool C

New Zealand had to dig deep to beat Wales 19-7 with the match secured late on after the sides were level at 7-7 early on. The All Blacks drew first blood courtesy of a Tim Mikkelson try which put him fifth on the all-time try-scoring list.

Things went pear-shaped for Mikkelson, however as he was then yellow carded for slowing the game down and Wales made their numerical advantage count when Morgan Wiliams scored their try just before half-time.

New Zealand finished stronger, however, and secured the victory thanks to second half tries from DJ Forbes and Beaudein Waaka.

Fiji made a superb start against Japan after Vatemo Ravouvou did well to hold up possession before Jerry Tuwai stepped in brilliantly from the touchline to score.

Vatemo Ravouvou brought up his 50th Sevens Series try in style and there were further five-pointers from Joeli Lutumailagi, Apisai Domolailai and Tuwaias the Pacific Islanders cruised to a 36-0 win.

Pool D

Argentina made a superb start in their opener against Scotland and were out of the blocks quickly as 30-year-old Gaston Revol skipped to the line to take advantage of some sluggish Scottish defending. 

Scotland's Jamie Farndale had levelled the scores prior to the break but Argentina struck back via a Matias Osadczuk try and Los Pumas eventually held on for a 22-14 win.

The USA were made to work hard in their clash against Russia but Mike Friday's charges eventually claimed a 14-7 victory. Folau Niua produced a moment of magic with an audacious dummy that had every defender moving right, and that meant Niua could skip through the gap and dot down. 

Then, on the stroke of half-time, USA went wide and speedster Perry Baker used his electrifying pace to cross over under the sticks. German Davydov took  advantage of a tired-looking USA defence to get Russia on the board in the second half but Eagles did enough to secure the win.

Day One Results

Australia 22-19 Samoa
England 52-0 South Korea
Argentina 22-14 Scotland
USA 14-7 Russia 
New Zealand 19-7 Wales
Fiji 36-0 Japan 
Canada 17-14 Kenya  
South Africa 17-10 France 

Day Two, schedule – Saturday, April 8
(Kick-off is local time – GMT plus eight hours)

Australia v South Korea – 11:18
England v Samoa – 11:40
Argentina v Russia – 12:02
United States v Scotland – 12:26
New Zealand v Japan – 12:50
Fiji v Wales – 13:12
Canada v France – 13:34
South Africa v Kenya – 13:56
Samoa v South Korea – 15:18
England v Australia – 15:40
Scotland v Russia – 16:02
United States v Argentina – 16:24
Wales v Japan – 16:48
Fiji v New Zealand – 17:12
Kenya v France – 17:34
South Africa v Canada – 17:56

With thanks to World Rugby

Photo Credit: World Rugby website


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