Hamilton Sevens: Shaky starts for big guns
DAY ONE, ROUND ONE: There were some shaky wins in the opening Round of the 2018 Hamilton Sevens.
The Sydney finalist the BlitzBoks and Australia, were forced to work hard for their opening wins. Both conceded points during their victories over Papua New Guinea and Spain.
While the hosts, New Zealand were the only team who broke the half-century scoreline.
There were also wins for Fiji, England, United States, Kenya and Argentina.
(Australia, Fiji, Wales, Spain)
High from their Cup win in Sydney, Australia came out full of confidence. However, fatigue kicked in as the men in gold had a static start. Nonetheless, the side eventually broke the deadlock when Ben O'Donnell went over the chalk for a 7-0 advantage.
However, just before the break Spain produced some attacking flair and scored a remarkable team try to trail 5-7.
Austalia settled the nerves with two quick tries early in the second half.
In the last 60 seconds, Lachlan Anderson added another converted try for the shaky win.
Meanwhile, Fiji's Eroni Sau ran in the first try of the match after Wales failed to secure the ball from the kick-off.
Fiji added a second try minutes later for a 14-0 lead. Fiji was reduced to six-man just before the break. But Wales failed to make use of the numeral advantage.
The second half was more tightly contested as Wales enjoyed more possession, however, it was Fiji who scored another two tries for the victory.
Fiji 28-0 Wales
Australia 21-5 Spain
(England, Russia, South Africa, Papua New Guinea)
Despite the long injury list, the BlitzBoks were the favorites going into their opening match against Papua New Guinea.
Dylan Sage opened the BlitzBoks' tally after 60 seconds. Minutes later Rosko Specman strolled over the chalk for a 12-0 lead.
Unlike last weekend in Sydney, this time Papua New Guinea managed to break their duck thanks to a five-pointer by Eugene Tokavai.
Celebrations were shortlived as Seabelo Senatla extended the scoreline to 19-5 at the break.
BlitzBoks scored three tries in the second half with Specman and Senatla completing their doubles, respectively.
In the other Pool B match, Russia did not trouble the England side.
England ran in four tries courtesy of Ethan Waddleton, Ruaridh McConnochie (2) and Dan Norton for a commanding 26-0 lead at the break.
England added three additional tries which include a brace by 19-year-old Taiye Ryan Olowofela.
England 47-0 Russia
South Africa 36-5 Papua New Guinea
(New Zealand, Argentina, France, Scotland)
New Zealand had a good start against France. Within 30 seconds of play, Joe Ravouvou scored the first try for New Zealand.
The Kiwis were relentless in attack as they scored three tries and rushed to a 28-0 lead at the break.
New Zealanders extended the lead just before France scored their first try of the match.
However it was the Kiwis who had the last say, as they ran in another three tries for the comfortable win.
In a more tightly contested battle, Scotland were the first to score against Argentina thanks to Max McFarland.
The Scots enjoyed possession and nice interplay made sure the captain Scott Riddell slid through a gap for a 14-0 lead at the break.
Argentina came out the blocks early in the second half. Tries by Franco Sabato and Felipe Del Mestre helped them narrow the gap.
In the last minute drama unfolded, Argentina's Luciano Gonzalez produced a try-saving tackle and ran his way to the other end of the park for the last-minute win.
New Zealand 52-7 France
Argentina 19-14 Scotland
(Kenya, Samoa, USA, Canada)
Joe Perez opened the score in Samoa's opener against Kenya.
Samoa looked the better side, however, a lack of concentrations handed Kenya the opportunity to score two quick tries by for a 12-7 lead at the break.
The Kenyans continued to produce great attack and added another try to their tally.
Samoa pulled one back and tried to steal it in the end but Kenya's defence kept them at bay.
Canada were first to score courtesy of a converted try by Nathan Hirayama. Minutes later Canada double their score as John Moonlight powered his way over the chalk. Hirayama added the extras for the 14-0 lead.
Before the break, the try-scoring machine Perry Baker narrowed the gap to 7-14 with a converted try.
The USA dominated the second stanza. They scored three tries which include a marvellous try by Baker.
Kenya 19-14 Samoa
USA 28-14 Canada