England, NZ, Fiji & Samoa on top in NZ 7’s

England, Samoa, New Zealand and Fiji each won all their three games Friday to finish at the top of their pools on the first day of the New Zealand International rugby sevens tournament.

 

Defending champions England scraped past Tonga 21-19 after beating the United States 31-5, then beat Kenya 24-10 to emerge at the top of Pool C on Friday, earning a quarterfinal against Canada on Saturday.

Kenya also qualified for the Cup quarterfinals with a two-win, one-loss record and will play Samoa in Saturday’s playoffs.


New Zealand beat Wales 29-5, Niue 49-5 then defeated South Africa 19-7 to emerge at the top of Pool A, the most difficult of the four pools at the 16-team tournament.


“It was the pool of death and it’s great to get through unbeaten,” New Zealand captain D.J.Forbes said.


“The match against South Africa was one of the hardest I’ve played.”


New Zealand has won its home tournament five times in the past 10 years and heads the standings on the IRB world circuit after winning the season’s first two tournaments in Dubai and South Africa.


The New Zealanders will face Australia in Saturday’s quarterfinals while South Africa has the hard task of taking on Fiji.


Fiji was the most impressive team on day one, topping Pool B with wins over Scotland 36-5, Papua New Guinea 41-0 and Australia 38-7.


Samoa, which won the tournament two years ago, was unbeaten in Pool D, beating France 29-19, Canada 27-14 and Argentina 33-14.


Canada, which beat Argentina 26-7 and France 21-19, emerged unexpectedly as the other Cup quarterfinal qualifier from the group.



Results of pool rounds:


Pool A:


New Zealand 29 Wales 5,
South Africa 38 Niue 10,
South Africa 38 Wales 5,
New Zealand 49 Niue 5,
Wales 21 Niue 5,
New Zealand 19 South Africa 7


Pool B:


Australia 31 Papua New Guinea 12,
Fiji 36 Scotland 5,
Australia 24 Scotland 7,
Fiji 41 Papua New Guinea 0,
Scotland 34 Papua New Guinea 5,
Fiji 38 Australia 7


Pool C:


Kenya 15 Tonga 7,
England 31 United States 7,
Kenya 24 United States 7,
England 24 Tonga 19,
United States 15 Tonga 7,
England 24 Kenya 10


Pool D:

 

Samoa 31 France 19,
Canada 26 Argentina 7,
Samoa 27 Canada 14,
Argentina 19 France 5,
Canada 21 France 19,
Samoa 33 Argentina 14

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