New Zealand lead the way in Delhi
October 11, 2010
New Zealand's Hosea Gear puts his foot down in Delhi © Getty Images
New Zealand led the field on day one of the Commonwealth Games Sevens in Delhi, powering into the last eight along with England, Australia, South Africa, Wales, Scotland, Kenya and IRB Sevens World Series winners Samoa.
Kenya sprung the surprise of the opening day by defeating Samoa 12-10 in their Pool C decider, reliable veterans Collins Injera and Humphrey Kayange doing the damage with tries.
Samoa had eased through their opening fixtures, beating Papua New Guinea 38-7 before Afa Aiono's hat-trick set up a 61-0 thrashing of Malaysia. Kenya also made light work of Malaysia, beating them 40-0 thanks to two tries from Injera, and scraped to a 17-12 win over PNG.
Kenya's victory sets up a meeting with Australia in the quarter-finals, although the African side's upset threw a possible spanner in the works for England.
Ben Ryan's side won Pool D thanks to 21-19 victory over Australia in the penultimate game of day one, with Dan Caprice and Mat Turner biting back to overhaul a deficit created by Wallabies wing Lachie Turner's try just after half-time. They had expected to avoid Samoa as a result but now face a daunting quarter-final showdown.
England got off to a flying start with a 59-7 thrashing of Sri Lanka as Monday morning brought a string of lopsided contests and followed up that opening win with a 55-0 rout of Uganda, Turner scoring a hat-trick. Australia picked up their own 33-0 win over Uganda before hammering Sri Lanka 42-5.
Crowd favourites New Zealand did not disappoint and cruised into the quarter finals, where they will face Wales. Gordon Tietjens' All Blacks-bolstered squad racked up 22 tries in their Pool A fixtures, belting Canada 43-7, Guyana 52-0 and Scotland 46-0. Hosea Gear and Ben Smith scored twice each against Scotland, who also progressed to the last eight, while Sherwin Stowers bagged five scores in total. Scotland beat Guyana 26-0 before scraping past Canada 19-17, Lee Jones starring with five tries across the two fixtures.
South Africa secured top spot in Pool B with a 21-5 victory over Wales in their final game of the day, and it proved to be vital victory given that it ensured Paul Treu's side avoided New Zealand in the last eight.
In their first test of the day South Africa beat Tonga 29-0 before swatting aside India 59-0 to further infuriate the home fans following their side's early hammering from Wales. Sibusiso Sithole starred for the injury-hit Sevens Boks, scoring three tries against the hosts. Wales' 56-7 spanking of hosts was followed by another comfortable win, with Tonga dispatched 39-7 thanks to two tries from Richie Pugh, but they face an uphill task on Tuesday.
Commonwealth Games Sevens - Quarter-Finals:
New Zealand v Wales
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal