Wellington Sevens: Day One wrap

Date published: February 6 2015

USA, New Zealand, Fiji and Kenya topped their respective pools at the end of Day One of the Wellington Sevens, round four of the Sevens World Series.

Mike Friday’s side beat France and Japan to finish on top of Pool A, only the second time the USA have won a pool on the series and the first since 2001, also in Wellington

Kenya topped their pool, the first time they have done so since the 2013 Sevens Wellington when they went on to beat New Zealand and reach the final, to reach the Cup quarter finals for the first time this season, with fifth placed Argentina and Gold Coast runners-up Samoa moving into the Bowl.

The current Series leaders South Africa suffered a shock 22-5 defeat to France in the opening match of the day at the Westpac Stadium, but bounced back to beat Japan and USA to move into the Cup quarter finals on points difference ahead of Les Bleus.

Quarter Finals:
USA v Scotland
Fiji v England
Kenya v South Africa
New Zealand v Australia

Bowl Quarter Finals
France v Samoa
Wales v Papua New Guinea
Argentina v Japan
Canada v Portugal

(South Africa, United States, France, Japan)

United States 38-7 France
South Africa 24-7 Japan
United States 40-5 Japan
South Africa 5-22 France
France 35-17 Japan
South Africa 26-14 USA

USA and South Africa have wrapped up top eight spots with wins in their final pool matches. Despite going down to South Afirca 26-14 in the final round of matches on day one at the Wesptac Stadium Mike Friday’s men qualified on top of Pool A. After finishing equal on points with both USA and South Africa, France will rue their earlier 38-7 loss to the USA which cost them a place in the Cup quarters on points difference after Zack Test scored two of his side’s six tries.

The Blitzbooks were pushed all the way by a spirited USA team after the score was locked 14-14 at half time. Tries to Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith were matched by a sensational double to Perry Baker. Cecil Afrika broke the deadlock two minutes into the second stanza before Smith’s second confirmed his side’s place in the quarters.

After consecutive wins in Dubai and Port Elizabeth the Blitzboks sit on top of the series standings and in poll position to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics but could not stop the French in the first match of the day before Werner Kok, Senatla and Philip Snyman got them back on track with a 24-7 win over Japan.

In a highly entertaining match Japan’s Lomano Lemeki gave the Cherry Blossomes the early lead against USA before speedster Carlin Isles and Danny Barrett crossed for converted tries to lead 14-5 at the break. An Isles in-and-away special down the right flank extended the lead to 21-5 opening the flood gates in the second half for a 40-5 win.

(New Zealand, England, Papua New Guinea, Canada)

England 29-0 Papua New Guinea
New Zealand 26-5 Canada
New Zealand 38-7 Papua New Guinea
England 27-5 Canada
Canada 41-0 Papua New Guinea
New Zealand 24-5 England

New Zealand booked a Cup quarter final berth against Australia after defeating England 24-5 in their final pool match despite going behind to a James Rodwell try early on.

New Zealand responded immediately scoring in the opposite corner through young Rieko Ioane to lock the scores before Scott Curry broke the deadlock for the All Black Sevens two minutes into the second half carving his way through the England defence on the way to the line. Sherwin Stowers and Ioane posted further tries for Gordon Tietjens’ men in the final minute.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand’s title defence started strongly with a 26-5 win over Canada. Stowers got the home side off to a good start scooting over for the first five pointer before a neat inside ball from Gillies Kaka sent 17-year-old debutant Reiko Ioane across the stripe. Kaka was at it again shortly after, this time setting up Sam Dickson for the easiest of tries and a 19-0 lead at half time. New Zealand’s fourth try came at the hands of another on debut in Beaudine Waaka before Wales posted their sole try after the siren.

(Australia, Fiji, Wales, Portugal)

Fiji 31-19 Portugal
Australia 36-5 Wales
Fiji 42-19 Wales
Australia 29-0 Portugal
Wales 20-12 Portugal
Australia 5-14 Fiji

While their quarter final places were already assured, bragging rights and first place in the pool was up for grabs as Fiji faced Australia in the Pool C decider. Ben Ryan’s side came out firing with Semi Kunatani striking first for the Pacific islanders followed by the returning Samisoni Viriviri scoring his third try of the day to help secure ta 14-5 win.

After accounting for Wales in their opener Australia led 10-0 at half time against Portugal before putting their foot down in the second half posting a 29-0 win. Second half tries Cameron Clark, Pama Fou and Greg Jeloudev helped continue Australia’s good form on day one while four first half tries including a double from Kunatani set Fiji on their way to a 42-19 win over Wales.

Viriviri ignited the crowd with a try either side of half time stamping his return to the HSBC Sevens World Series in his side’s 31-19 win over Portugal.

(Agentina, Kenya, Samoa, Scotland)

Scotland 14-12 Samoa
Argentina 31-7 Kenya
Scotland 14-19 Kenya
Argentina 21-21 Samoa
Argentina 14-21 Scotland
Kenya 28-14 Samoa

Kenya defied their recent form in the series assuring their passage to the Cup quarter finals with a strong 28-14 win over Samoa. Trailling 7-0, a first half double to Kenya’s Daniel Sikuta was the catalyst for his side’s 21-7 half time leadbefore Colin Injera put the result beyond doubt early in the second half.

Meanwhile, Scotland also qualified for the top eight after defeating Argentina 21-14 in their final pool match. After leading 14-7 courtesy of runaway tries to Colin Gregor and Damien Hoyland, both players among the Scots best on day one, Gregor’s second just after the break gave Scotland enough breathing space to hold out a late finihsing Los Pumas.

Earlier, Hoyland’s second brace in two matches gave Scotland a 14-7 half time lead over Kenya before a quick-fire double from Billy Odhiambo gave Kenya a five-point buffer, a lead they held onto for the remaining minutes.

In a tight round one contest Argentina and Kenya traded early five-pointer’s through Rodrigo Etchart and Bush Mwale respectively before Segundo Tuculet’s converted try gave the Los Pumas a five point advantage at the break. German Schulz extended the lead to 12 before two late tries put the result beyond doubt for Argentina with a strong 31-7 result.

Hoyland’s first brace of the day had the Scots up 14-0 at the break over the Pacific islanders, eventually holding out a strong finishing Samoa for a two point win. With his side on the comeback late in the second stanza Samoa Toloa brought the crowd to their feet breaking a tackle on half way before outpacing the defence to score then Gregory Foe crossed in the corner but it was too little too late as the siren sounded.

With thanks to WorldRugby