Tempers flare as Fiji and New Zealand progress in Tokyo
April 1, 2000
South Pacific powerhouses Fiji and New Zealand both posted three straight wins on Saturday to stay on course towards a probable final showdown at the World Sevens rugby tournament.
The 1997 World Sevens champions Fiji defeated Sri Lanka 64-0, Papua New Guinea 40-5 and Hong Kong 43-5 to finish top in the four-team Pool A preliminary round.
Papua New Guinea also advanced to the knock-out quarter-finals with two wins against one defeat, leaving Hong Kong and Sri Lanka in the 9th-16th playoff round.
The Japan Sevens is the ninth round of the 10-round World Sevens series, which started in the United Arab Emirates in December.
In the previous round in Hong Kong last month, Fiji lost to New Zealand in the final, seeing their lead in the standings reduced to only two points at 152 points ahead of New Zealand.
The winners in Tokyo will receive 20 points, the runners-up 16 points and third placers 12 points.
In Pool B, New Zealand whitewashed Taiwan 50-0 and the United States 40-0 before fending off an excited rough house against France for a 21-5 victory.
After France took a 5-0 lead, tension flared up in the first half as the two teams started a battle with Craig Newby of New Zealand, and France's Jerome Troader and Chirstphe Jean receiving yellow cards.
Craig De Goidi received a red card in the sixth minute of the second half as New Zealand were reduced to six men, but they were never in danger with only one minute left on the clock.
France ended second with a 2-1 record and earned a quarter-final place against Fiji, while New Zealand will take on Papua New Guinea Sunday.
The other quarter-final matches will be played between Japan and Canada, and between Australia and South Africa.
Australia defeated Singapore 63-0, South Korea 38-0 and Canada 38-0 in Pool C, while Japan downed South Africa 24-19, Malaysia 47-5 and drew with Samoa 28-28.
South Africa narrowly secured a quarter final spot after coming back from 0-5 down to beat Samoa 14-10 in the last match of the day at the Prince Chichibu stadium.