Dubai Sevens: Big guns on song
DAY ONE: There were no upsets after two round of pool matches on the opening day of the 2018/19 season.
The United States, New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa, England and Australia all won their first two games.
France and Argentina picked up their first victories at the second attempt.
Scotland and Samoa won their openers, but suffered defeat in their second games.
The United States made it two from two. After a clean-sweep against Spain in the first match of the day, Mike Friday’s men prevailed (33-12) over Wales.
They next meet New Zealand in their quest finish the first day of the new season unbeaten.
The Kiwis also made it two from two in pool play, defeating Spain 28-17 – ahead of the Pool C crunch match.
After a tough first half, and finding themselves 0-14 down at the break, Kenya fought back against France.
However, Jerome Daret’s men kept their composure and made sure of their first win of the new season (21-17).
Fiji was given a major scare by Scotland – with only a silly error at the end by gifting the Pacific Islanders a win. Fiji captain Kalione Nasoko scored his 50th try early on, after Jerry Tuwai toyed with the field and left defenders clutching at thin air. However, Scotland hit back through Robbie Fergusson to make it 5-7 at the break.
Scotland, from the restart, Max McFarland soar highest into the air. McFarland accelerated over the line and the conversion put them 12-7 up with plenty of the second half to play. Scotland was pressing well, but the ball out the back of a ruck and Fiji instantly capitalised. They shifted it quickly to Aminiasi Tuimaba, who sprinted clear for the try. Another sloppy ruck and again Fiji pounced – Alasio Naduva finished the job after a textbook support line. Scotland’s Sam Piqueur then scored down the left, turning on the afterburners, and then Jamie Farndale crossed again for what he thought would be the winning try.
However, Farndale was a little too ambitious in trying to cut the angle for the conversion and his foot went out of play – gifting the win to Fiji in the most dramatic fashion.
In match 13 Argentina’s Santiago Gómez Cora was a real handful early on for Zimbabwe. They worked an easy overlap on the left-hand side and Marcos Moroni finished the job nicely. Zimbabwe wasn’t put off by conceding early and rambunctious work from Biselele Tshamala saw them level things up. Biselele Tshamala was instrumental in Zimbabwe’s second try, Takudzwa Kumadiro the man with the decisive move, a hard and direct line from short range.
After Argentina hit back it was the turn of Tafadzwa Chitokwindo to show exactly what he can do. He stepped beautifully on the right and raced clear. With two minutes to go and Zimbabwe had a 19-15 lead. However, Conrado Roura’s second score of the game was the match-winner.
As expected the game between South Africa and Samoa saw the physicality levels to soar. South Africa was dominating the possession and after banging on the door for too lengthy periods a crossfield kick found Siviwe Soyizwapi. Johnny Vaili then took it upon himself in the middle of the park, puts in two steps at full pace and then flies away from the rest – 7-all at the break.
South Africa was forced to go from deep. Rosko Specman almost broke free himself, but in the end, it was Werner Kok who shrugged off three defenders and took route one to the line. Alatasi Tupou kept Samoa in the game with an excellent interception. He went the length of the field. The BlitzBoks eventually sealed a hard-fought 19-12 victory game with a Muller du Plessis try in the far left-hand corner.
Japan was never going to trouble England, but they attempted to keep the ball alive. It was Dan Norton that opened the scoring – putting in a delicate chip through and then grounded it. Tom Mitchell added England’s second, before Japan reply. Katsuyuki Sakai scored their first of the day in Dubai with a solid step and drive. On the stroke of half-time, Mike Ellery stormed over down the left wing.
Dan Norton got a second in the match as England remained unbeaten on Day One.
Australia produced a cracker of a try to start this game off against Canada – the ball going through every player’s pair of hands at least twice before Lachie Anderson scored. Connor Braid got Canada on the board. Australia then got a double – the first from a sterling support line by Lewis Holland after Boyd Killingworth showed his power in the middle and the second was all about Maurice Longbottom’s sensational footwork. Killingworth was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle and Connor Braid took full advantage of the space and hits back for Canada (17-14 at the break).
Maurice Longbottom was having a field day and got his second after the break, with Boyd Killingworth making amends for his sin-binning by going route one over the line. Despite Luke McCloskey having the final say on the board, it was Australia who marched forward with purpose in Pool D.
United States 33-12 Wales
New Zealand 28-17 Spain
Kenya 21-17 France
Fiji 21-17 Scotland
Argentina 22-19 Zimbabwe
South Africa 19-12 Samoa
England 31-7 Japan
Australia 31-19 Canada
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
(Kick-off is local time – GMT plus four hours)
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