Race hots up for Hong Kong crown
March 24, 2012
France's Jean Baptiste Mazoue tackles Fiji's Isikeli Tuiwainunu during another intense day of action in Hong Kong © Getty Images
The stage is set for a thrilling finale to the latest HSBC Sevens World Series event after an intense second day of action in Hong Kong.
Fiji' superior points difference means they progress as to the Cup quarter-finals as top seeds and will face Argentina in the last eight, while defending champions New Zealand will meet Wales in a repeat of their pool match. Samoa are set to face South Africa and Australia await England in the other two quarter-finals.
USA 7s champions Samoa wrapped up the action with a 14-12 victory against Ben Ryan's England in the Pool A decider. Paul Perez scored on the stroke of half time before Alafoti Fa'osiliva's effort in the second half, but it was Tom Mitchell's missed conversion after Rob Vickerman had opened the scoring that proved decisive. Stephan Betham's side began their campaign with a 19-7 victory against Kenya thanks to tries from Ken Pisi, Paul Perez and Alatasi Tupou before Afa Aiono scored twice in their 27-0 victory against Argentina.
England are fourth in the World Series standings and got off to a winning start in front of the ex-pat crowd, beating Argentina 19-10 thanks to tries from Dan Norton, Rob Vickerman and Mat Turner. On day two, Norton completed a hat-trick, taking him level with Frank Halai on 27 tries for the season, as England held on to a narrow 21-17 victory against Kenya. Argentina finished third after beating Kenya 19-7.
Current Series leaders New Zealand made it three wins from three after beating South Africa 19-10 in their final pool match to progress as Pool B winners. Earlier, Gordon Tietjens' side came from 7-0 behind against Wales to win 24-7 having defeated the USA 29-5 on day one thanks to another impressive performance from the influential Tomasi Cama. The 2008/09 World Series winners South Africa beat reigning RWC Sevens champions Wales 10-0 on Friday thanks to tries from Boom Prinsloo and Cecil Afrika and the latter scored his side's third try in their 15-7 victory on day two against the USA. Dan Smith and Richard Smith both scored two tries, and Alex Walker kicked 12 points as Wales finished third in Pool B after a convincing 42-7 victory against USA.
Fiji defeated Australia 22-5 and France 26-12 today to maintain their 100% record and finish as Pool C winners. Metuisela Talebula was the hero, scoring two tries in both victories. In their opening match, Isikeli Tulwainunu Vuruna scored two of Fiji's seven tries as the side currently lying second in the World Series beat Scotland 39-5.
Allan Fa'alava'au scored Australia's second hat-trick of the tournament, as they beat Scotland 29-14 after Greg Jeloudev had scored their first against the Dubai Sevens runners-up France in a 31-10 victory. Scotland finished third in Pool C after coming from 12-0 behind at half time against France, as Sean Kennedy scored with the last play of the match and Colin Gregor kicked the crucial conversion in the 14-12 victory.
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