Hong Kong Sevens: BlitzBoks shake off wobbly start
DAY ONE WRAP: There were very little to get excited about as Samoa, South Africa, England, USA, New Zealand, Fiji, Argentina and France all won their opening pool matches.
The tournament started in Pool A with Samoa beating Scotland 17-7 before South Africa pressed on for a 22-7 win over Japan.
Similar to last month in Canada, the back-to-back series winners BlitzBoks had a slow start against Japan but found their feet in the second half. The gusty Japan side took a narrow 7-5 lead at the break.
However, in the second stanza, they failed to get their hands on the ball as Werner Kok, Justin Geduld, and captain Siviwe Soyizwapi got their names on the score sheet for the win.
It is 96 tries (and counting) for @JustinGeduld and 909 points (and counting) in the @WorldRugby7s so far. The experienced playmaker is enjoying @OfficialHK7s it seems. @CastleFreeSA @ASICS_ZA @ASICSRugby @FNBSA pic.twitter.com/KGRB5iyaD6
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) April 5, 2019
In Pool B, Argentina got the job done with a narrow 19-14 win over Canada.
The South Americans dominated the opening minutes racking up a 19-0 lead before Canada’s Justin Douglas dived over the chalk for his side’s first try.
In the closing minutes, Los Pumas were down to five, after back-to-back yellow cards, and as expected they run out of numbers on the left. The Canadians capitalised as a Connor Braid try and the conversion brought Canada back within touching distance.
However, Los Pumas hold on and managed to secure the victory.
Pool B’s second fixture, the all-Europe affair saw France record a 40-7 win over Portugal.
Portugal, who made their first appearance on the series since London in 2016, struggled to keep up and found themselves 7-21 down at the break. Les Bleus continued with their onslaught as Stephen Parez pulled out a little bit of magic to finish the day’s play with a back offload-pass which sent Samuel Alerte on his way for the 40 points.
— All Blacks Sevens (@AllBlacks7s) April 5, 2019
The rivalry between New Zealand and Australia produced loads of action in the first fixture of Pool C. Joe Ravouvou scored the first try of the match and two and a half minutes after the time went into the red he broke away from the final defender. It was breathless, lung-busting rugby and Ravouvou’s ability to keep on going meant that New Zealand had a hard-fought advantage going into the second seven minutes.
In the second half, Australia went down to six men and All Blacks took full advantage as they recorded a 40-14 win.
Also in Pool C, Fiji found their flow and racked up a 17-0 lead at the break against Kenya. The lethal Fijians continued with their dominance are playing in only the way that they can do. They’re 17 points to the good and the crowd are absolutely loving their work.
It was not quite a sparky as the first seven minutes but Fiji’s hold remained strong for a 22-5 triumph.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 5, 2019
Over in Pool D, England side overturned a shaky start for a comfortable 36-19 victory over Wales.
After trading early tries, Wales’ Tom Rogers sipped off the side of the ruck and flew across for his first ever try in Hong Kong for a 12-5 lead. Rogers bagged his second just before the break for the 19-5 advantage at break.
Straight away England gained the restart and Dan Norton was the man to make sure of a much-needed try and it’s a milestone try for him. He has now scored 324 tries in his career and surpasses Collins Injera as the all-time leading sevens series try-scorer in Hong Kong. They eventually secured the easy win.
Elsewhere in Pool D, the United States, who sit top of the standings, reminded the world of their incredible offloading ability and handling accuracy to beat Spain 36-7. The USA put six tries on the board with two of them coming from Stephen Tomasin.
Samoa 17-7 Scotland
South Africa 22-7 Japan
England 36-19 Wales
USA 36-7 Spain
New Zealand 40-14 Australia
Fiji 22-5 Kenya
Argentina 19-14 Canada
France 40-7 Portugal
(Kick-off is local time – GMT plus eight hours)
Saturday, April 6
Samoa v Japan – 11.16
South Africa v Scotland – 11.41
England v Spain – 12.03
United States v Wales – 12.25
New Zealand v Kenya – 12.51
Fiji v Australia – 13.13
Argentina v Portugal – 13.35
France v Canada – 13.59
Scotland v Japan – 15.00
South Africa v Samoa – 15.22
Wales v Spain – 15.44
United States v England – 16.08
Australia v Kenya – 16.33
Fiji v New Zealand – 16.55
Canada v Portugal – 17.17
France v Argentina – 17.41