BlitzBoks cruise on Day One
WRAP: Current Series pace-setters South Africa remain on course for a third tournament win of the campaign following a day of thrills at the Spain Sevens.
The BlitzBoks made sure of their place in the Cup quarterfinals and are one of seven unbeaten teams heading into Day Two.
Third seeds Australia are another of those, although they were held to a 12-all by an impressive performance from invitational side Germany.
Series leaders South Africa, England lead Pool A
South Africa has set the pace on the Series so far with back-to-back wins in Dubai. However, the BlitzBoks found themselves 0-7 down at half-time of their opener in Malaga against Scotland.
Zain Davids, Selvyn Davids (twice), captain Siviwe Soyizwapi and Christie Grobbelaar all crossed the whitewash in the second half, though, as South Africa turned on the style to win 27-7.
Due to Fiji’s withdrawal from the tournament, England, Scotland and South Africa were each awarded three points for the games they would have played against them. That meant the Scots needed to win their second match on day one.
However, despite taking a 12-0 lead in the first half it was England who won that match 24-17, as Jamie Adamson, skipper Alex Davis (twice) and Blake Boyland touched down to ensure England kept pace with the BlitzBoks at the top of Pool A.
England 0-0 Fiji
South Africa 27-7 Scotland
England 24-17 Scotland
South Africa 0-0 Fiji
Germany stun Australia as Ireland take control of Pool B
Ireland played Japan twice in Dubai last year without conceding a try, but they fell behind early in the sides’ opening match in Malaga as Taiga Ishida scored.
However, Ireland recovered and ran in 19 unanswered points in the second half to secure a 33-14 victory.
The Irish followed that up with a 24-7 defeat of a spirited Germany team, thanks in no small part to two Teddy Kennedy tries, to end day one top of Pool B.
Earlier on the Spanish coast, Germany had produced arguably the result of the day as they held third-seeds Australia to a 12-12 draw.
The last time the teams met Australia won 50-0 but having kept the match scoreless at half-time, the Germans twice recovered from conceding to Nathan Lawson and scored with the last play of the game through Tim Lichtenburg.
Fabian Heimpel’s conversion confirmed a famous result, which keeps Germany in contention for a place in the quarter-finals.
They will round off their Pool B campaign against Japan, who lost 42-0 to Australia later on Friday. Victory ensured the third seeds finished the day second in the pool behind Ireland.
Ireland 33-14 Japan
Australia 12-12 Germany
Ireland 24-7 Germany
Australia 42-0 Japan
Argentina and United States book last-eight spots
United States star Perry Baker led his team out ahead of their opening Pool C match against Spain on Friday as he made his first appearance at his 50th Series event.
Baker marked that milestone with his 211th career Series try as the United States gained some revenge on the hosts, who had beaten them in Dubai, with a 19-14 win.
The United States then made sure of their place in the Cup quarter-finals as Kevon Williams scored three of his side’s seven tries during their 47-0 win against Jamaica.
Invitational side Jamaica were a late call-up for Malaga, replacing Samoa, but they made a strong start to their campaign in Spain, scoring first and trailing just 10-7 at half-time of their opening match against Argentina.
But the South Americans proved too strong in the second half, running out 31-7 winners. And the second seeds brought an end to a stunning day of sevens with an impressive 40-12 defeat of hosts Spain.
United States 19-14 Spain
Argentina 31-7 Jamaica
United States 47-0 Jamaica
Argentina 40-12 Spain
Fantastic France cut loose in Pool D
Jordan Sepho and Nelson Epee were the stars as France cruised through to the men’s quarter-finals on day one with big wins against Wales and Canada.
Sepho helped himself to five tries – including a hat-trick against Wales – while Epee scored four as Les Bleus beat the Welsh 38-10 and Canada 38-5 to put themselves firmly in control at the top of Pool D.
Wales and Canada, who face each other on Saturday, can both join France in the last eight after they each beat Kenya on day one.
Canada came from 0-5 to build a 19-5 lead in their opening match against Kenya and withstood a fight back from the African side to close it out 19-17.
Kenya again scored the first try of their second match but Morgan Williams (twice) and Tom Brown crossed the whitewash to secure a 19-14 victory for Wales and ensure the Shujaa finished day one winless.
Kenya 17-19 Canada
France 38-10 Wales
Kenya 14-19 Wales
France 38-5 Canada