HSBC Sevens World Series
England power into Dubai quarters
December 2, 2011
New Zealand's Frank Halai gets across the line © Getty Images
England powered through to the quarter-finals of the Dubai leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series after finishing day one unbeaten.
Fiji's victory in Australia last weekend means they are the team to beat at the top of the standings and they booked their place in the quarter-finals alongside the other unbeaten sides England, South Africa and Wales. England have teed up a quarter-final with New Zealand while Wales will face will face Argentina. South Africa will aim to get past France while Fiji are up against Australia.
Following England's disappointing showing on the opening weekend of the tournament, the defending champions of the Dubai leg of the tournament ended proceedings on day one with a 29-12 victory over France thanks to a Dan Norton hat-trick. Ben Ryan's side began the defence of their campaign by beating Zimbabwe 43-0, Norton scoring two tries, including his 50th Series try, and debutant Christian Lewis-Pratt also crossing for one, before Mat Turner struck twice in their 19-12 victory against Kenya.
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. The cheetahs won their final match of day one, however, beating African neighbours Kenya 21-5 thanks to tries from Jacques Leitao, Wesley Mbanje and Manasah Sita to finish third in Pool C.
Meanwhile in Pool A, a hat-trick from Joeli Lutumailagi ensured Fiji defeated Samoa 31-14 to end day one with a 100% record. The result also meant Samoa miss out on the Cup quarter-finals and Argentina quality as Pool A runners-up. Aminiasi Nava Kuruinovo earlier helped Fiji make it two wins from two as his two tries assisted in a 43-0 victory over hosts UAE. 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 Lutumailagi. 2009-10 Series champions Samoa defeated the hosts 55-12 on the 40th anniversary of the UAE before their pulsating match with Argentina.
Samoa came from 21-7 behind to lead 28-21 with seconds to go, but Nicolas Fernandez Lobbe's men clinched a dramatic all-important 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 them a superior points difference following the enthralling pacific clash between Fiji and Samoa.
In Pool B, 2008-09 Series champions South Africa beat New Zealand 21-5 in the final Pool B match, ensuring Paul Treu's side maintained a 100% record on day one and now face a Cup quarter-final against France. In their second match six different players scored for South Africa as they defeated the USA 36-7, ensuring Al Caravelli's side are still yet to record a victory over Treu's side in the history of the World Series.
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 scored a further two tries in their second pool match, a 31-7 victory against Portugal, and they enter the Cup quarter-finals as pool runners-up.
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. Last year Portugal stunned England on day one but lost to South Africa in their first match at the 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.
And in Pool D - Wales topped their pool after an impressive 33-14 victory over last week's hosts Australia as Richard Smith scored twice. In their second match, Paul John's side recorded a narrow 15-12 victory against Geraint John's Canada including a landmark 50th try for Ifan Evans.
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. 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 to 100.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
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