United States upset England in Adelaide
March 19, 2010
South Africa were the day's biggest winners with their 40-0 thrashing of Japan © Getty Images
United States scored the upset of the first day of the IRB Sevens World Series tournament in Adelaide by toppling England 24-21.
Wales also sprung a surprise by beating Fiji, placed third in the overall series standings, 17-12.
All the other favourites survived the hot Australian evening to come through their opening pool games unscathed, with some teams amassing scores akin to the cricket batsmen who usually frequent the Adelaide Oval turf.
The improving Americans overcame Mat Turner's early try for England to push out to a 10-point half time lead in their Pool D match, and the English fightback was too little too late as United States claimed a four-tries-to-two triumph.
Fiji got off to a flying, if unfair, start to their Pool C clash when Setefano Cakau was awarded a try even though he had both crossed into touch and handed the ball to the covering tackler in an attempt to release it near the corner.
Fiji looked to capitalise on their fortune with another try but it was all Wales from then on, with Rhys Jones crossing before half time and two second-half tries wrapping up the result for a side that was just more desperate to win.
Kenya notched a 27-7 win over Papua New Guinea in the other Pool C match, with PNG provided sterner opposition than expected in an entertaining battle.
South Africa racked up the biggest winning margin of the day, dismissing Japan 40-0. South Africa lost Steven Hunt to injury early in the match, but his replacement Sampie Mastriet eased the pain by scoring an incredible four tries on debut.
Fellow Pool B heavyweights Samoa accounted for France 33-12 with the help of a double from Mikaele Pesamino.
New Zealand thrilled the crowd by successfully defending for the last minute with five men as Scotland tried to take advantage of two yellow cards to the series leaders. It was a basketball team against a sevens team but New Zealand still could not be breached as they held onto their healthy 31-0 lead.
In the other Pool A match, Argentina won perhaps the day's most exciting contest over Tonga by scoring a try after the final hooter to win 19-17. The Tongans threatened to produce a boilover with two early tries by wayward conversion kicks came back to haunt them and Joaquin Tuculet won it for Argentina late on.
Australia rounded out proceedings in front of their own fans by smashing island minnows Niue 40-5. Niue were heartened and applauded for Tony Pulu's second half try, but doubles to Kimami Sitauti and Ed Stubbs made Australia's Pool D lead assured.
Firdose Moonda talks to Rob Louw about the difficulties of being a South African touring New Zealand at the height of Apartheid
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games