Fri 30 Nov 2018 | 09:06

Dubai Sevens: Big guns in cruise control

Dubai Sevens: Big guns in cruise control
Fri 30 Nov 2018 | 09:06
Dubai Sevens: Big guns in cruise control

DAY ONE: There were no upsets in the opening round of matches, as the 2018/19 World Series got underway on Friday.

In the other opening match of the day the reigning Sevens Series champions and holders of the Dubai title, South Africa asserted themselves and won 31-0 against the weekend’s invitational side Zimbabwe.

The day started in Pool C and it was a productive first outing for Mike Friday and his American side. Four tries in total with two from the World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year – Perry Baker.

In Pool B, John Dalziel’s Scotland started off on the right note with a 35-14 win over Kenya while Fiji was rampant against France with a 41-0 victory.

Earlier in Pool A, Samoa and Argentina pushed each other all of the way with the former edging out 21-19 victors.

Finally, in Pool D – England got off to a winning start – with Dan Norton making new history by becoming the first ever sevens player to score 300 tries during their 26-12 win over Canada.

Australia racked up the highest points total of the first eight matches with their 43-0 win over Japan.

In the opening match of the tournament, the United States was simply too good for Spain, winning 29-0 – Danny Barrett, Perry Baker and Matai Leuta scoring first-half tries to give the Americans a 17-0 lead at the break.

Baker and Carlin Isles added a try each in the second half to complete the rout.

New Zealand also put down an early marker when they eased past a young Wales team (28-7). Andre Knewstubb and Scot Curry gave the Kiwis a comfortable 14-0 lead at the break.

Despite a Luke Treharne try that closed the gap to seven points, the Kiwis kicked on – with Scott Gregory and Curry closing out the game with further tries.

Scotland, after a sloppy start, took the lead against Kenya – showing nice patience after a line break, recycling the ball wide to Max McFarland. Scotland then doubled their lead with a lovely step and fend from the co-captain Robbie Fergesson. A lovely flick on from Gavin Lowe set Glenn Bryce free down the wing for a 21-0 lead at the break.

Scotland was awarded a penalty try when Max McFarland was tackled high near the line, before Kenya eventually got on the board. The teams exchanged further tries, but the game was over as a contest.

The Fijians cruised past a hapless French team – Sevuloni Mocenacagi opening the scoring in the first minute. The only other first-half try by the Pacific Islanders was from Kalione Nasoko – 12-0 at the break. Amenoni Nasilasila, Vilimoni Botitu, Alasio Sovita Naduva and Jerry Tuwai completed the rout after the break.

The encounter between Argentina and Samoa was indeed a game of two halves – Johnny Samuelu, Elisapeta Alofipo and Kirisimasi Savaiinaea scoring first-half tries to give Samoa a 21-0 lead.

Franco Sabato got the Argentineans on the board, Marcos Moroni closed the gap further, before Sabato brought them to within two points (19-21). However, a missed conversion and Argentina’s failure to round off a late try-scoring opportunity gifted the tiring Samoans the win.

South Africa was far from their best against African neighbours Zimbabwe, but two late tries by playmaker Rosko Specman blew out the score (to 31-0) and showed the difference in class between the sides.

Siviwe Soyizwapi and Branco du Preez scored first-half tries (14-0), with veteran Kyle Brown opening the second half scoring – before Specman put the matter beyond doubt.

England had to work a bit harder than the scoreline suggests (26-12), but late scorers by Tom Mitchell and Tom Bowen gave England a comfortable win – after Canada had looked good for an upset at 12-14. Dan Norton and Michael Ellery scored England’s first-half tries.

Australia also opened their account with an easy win (??) over Japan – Nicholas Malouf, John Porch and Maurice Longbottom scoring the one-sided first half that saw the Aussies lead 19-0 at the break.

Lewis Holland stretched the lead early in the second half, before the Aussies ran away to record the biggest score (43-0) in the opening round.


United States 29-0 Spain
New Zealand 28-7 Wales
Kenya 14-35 Scotland
Fiji 39-0 France
Argentina 19-21 Samoa
South Africa 31-0 Zimbabwe
England 26-12 Canada
Australia 43-0 Japan

Remaining matches
(Kick-off is local time – GMT plus four hours)

Friday, November 30
United States v Wales – 12.00
New Zealand v Spain – 12.22
Kenya v France – 12.44
Fiji v Scotland – 13.06
Argentina v Zimbabwe – 14.14
South Africa v Samoa – 14.36
England v Japan – 14.58
Australia v Canada – 15.20
Spain v Wales – 18.00
New Zealand v United States – 18.22
Scotland v France – 18.44
Fiji v Kenya – 19.06
Samoa v Zimbabwe – 19.31
South Africa v Argentina – 19.53
Canada v Japan – 20.15
Australia v England – 20.37

Source: @WorldRugby7s

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