IRB Sevens World Series - Hong Kong
Big names escape unscathed in Hong Kong
March 27, 2009
England's Ben Gollings scraps with the Chinese defence © Getty Images
The main seeds survived unscathed on the opening day of the Hong Kong Sevens, with South Africa, New Zealand, Fiji and England all securing comfortable wins.
New Zealand and England, both looking to bounce back from disappointing displays at the Rugby World Cup in Dubai earlier this month, secured the biggest wins on day one. England cruised past China, with eight tries contributing to a 54-0 drubbing. Debutant winger Dan Caprice bagged a hat-trick to cap his first game at this level, while new Wasps acquisition Tom Varndell was also on the score sheet.
New Zealand crushed Sri Lanka 59-0 in Pool C, while also in that pool Australia overcame the challenge of Zimbabwe 33-5. Fiji also overcame a potential banana skin, kicking off their tournament with a 33-0 win over Chinese Taipei. In a group that is likely to come down to the clash between Fiji and Samoa, the Samoans also opened their account with a win, defeating Canada 14-10.
Newly-crowned World Champions Wales defeated Japan 14-5 in their opening game, their much-changed side coming from behind to win thanks to tries from Ifan Evans and then James Lewis.
In Pool F, joint Sevens Series leaders South Africa got underway with a 29-7 win over Korea. Kim Won-Yong rounded off an excellent team move for a Korean try in the first half, but their resilience didn't last and South Africa pulled clear with five unanswered tries of their own.
San Diego Sevens winners Argentina bounced back from their disappointment at losing to Wales in the World Cup final by thumping Hong Kong 28-0. Mariano Dobal bagged a brace of tries for the Pumas, who will have had one eye on their main rivals in Pool D, Tonga, who beat Portugal 17-5.
Kenya nearly fell victim to a big upset when they were run close by the West Indies in the tournament opener. The minnows opened the scoring in terrible weather conditions, skipper Claudius Butts scoring to lead at the break before Kenya pegged them back to win 17-10.
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