London Sevens attracts world record crowd
May 11, 2013
England's Dan Norton powers over to score against Samoa © Getty Images
HSBC Sevens World Series champions New Zealand were the only side to win all three of their matches on a record-breaking opening day at the season-ending London Sevens.
A new world record one-day crowd for Sevens of 71,898 flocked to Twickenham where hosts England responded to the carnival atmosphere by beating Fiji and Samoa in their first two matches but lost to Argentina in the final match of the day. England will now face South Africa in tomorrow's Cup quarter-finals, while New Zealand will play the Argentina, Kenya will line up against Fiji, while Australia will play the USA.
England opened their Pool C account with an impressive 27-0 victory over Fiji thanks largely to a hat-trick of tries from Jeff Williams. Dan Norton also bagged a hat-trick as they accounted for Samoa 34-7 in their second game but they were unable to make it a clean sweep with Argentina claiming a 26-17 win in their showdown. Fiji progressed to the last eight alongside England thanks to a 24-0 victory over Argentina and a 33-7 success against Samoa.
"There are a lot of positives to take from today and this loss to Argentina actually gives us a sharp reminder that if we don't get everything right in the game you can pay the price quickly," said England coach Ben Ryan. "New Zealand are the only side going unbeaten into Sunday and that just shows how competitive this tournament is. Playing South Africa in the quarter-finals is going to be a massive game but we are looking forward to it. We've got an extra man in the home crowd and that is a big advantage."
The 11-time Series champions New Zealand beat Canada 24-7 in their opening Pool B match having trailed 7-0, and also came from 17-0 behind to defeat Kenya 31-17 with Kurt Baker and David Raikuna scoring twice each. They wrapped up their pool campaign with a 45-5 victory over Wales. Humphrey Kayanage, who returned to the Kenyan squad for this event, scored one of the tries of the day, running the entire length of the pitch, as his side beat Wales 31-19 with a 38-12 victory over Canada enough for them to also claim a quarter-final berth.
Australia claimed Pool A with 35-12 victory over France having earlier slumped to an opening 5-0 defeat to South Africa before edging out the USA 19-15. The USA claimed second place in the pool thanks to their opening 19-17 victory over France and a 19-12 win against South Africa who complete the quarter-final line-up thanks to their dramatic 17-14 win over France that was sealed with a late score from Cecil Afrika.
In the battle to win one of the three additional core team places on offer for next season that guarantee an invite to every Series event, Portugal were the only team to score three wins in pool play. As a result the Portuguese are seeded top in the knock-out phase of that competition and face Georgia in their must-win quarter-final match on day two. Iberian neighbours Spain face Hong Kong, Zimbabwe play Russia and Scotland will play Tonga. The eight teams are competing for three core team places next season.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in Pictures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year