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Singapore SVNS, men - Day One

WRAP: We bring you Day One of the men’s action at the Singapore leg of the HSBC SVNS World Series on Friday.

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Argentina hold an eight-point cushion over second-place Ireland in the men’s standings ahead of HSBC SVNS Singapore.

That means, Los Pumas Sevens will be sure of the League Winners title if they reach at least the Cup semifinals at Singapore National Stadium.

Los Pumas Sevens’ points difference is 298 points better than Ireland’s, which means they are also likely to finish the regular season top of the standings if they finish fifth in Singapore – regardless of what Ireland do.

Should Argentina fail to reach the Cup quarterfinals for the second successive tournament, however, Ireland would leapfrog them in the standings if they qualify for the Cup semifinals.

All the Day One action below

Pool A

Australia 26 – 19 Argentina

All eyes were on this opening round game against the log leading Los Pumas and the unpredictable Aussies. Both teams got onto the scoreboard in the first half as Australia led by one additional try. Argentina struggled to get out of second gear as Australia rumbled to a three-try lead with only two minutes left in the game. Los Pumas would eventually get in for their second and third try of the match but Australia would keep their composure to see out this game and get an important first win in the tournament to make it all to play for in the series as Argentina come away with a losing bonus point.

New Zealand 22 – 17 Canada

This game proved to be blockbuster to end the opening round of the tournament as the lead continued to change hands right up until the end of the game. The Canadians knew they had their work cut out for them against a top performing New Zealand side showing immense heart of defense holding up New Zealand over their own try-line on two occasions. The game would ultimately be won in extra time as New Zealand snuck in a last minute try in the corner to tie things up and then steal the game at sudden death to secure an important victory in the series but the Canadians can feel proud of their performance with no one expecting this game to be so close.

Australia 21 – 14 Canada

A good contest put on by each side to start this fixture off. Both teams using the full width of the pitch to test the other, with a bit of flair thrown in for good measure. Australia start to set their sights on the centre of the pitch and they gravitated towards it as they built the phases. Australia’s first try came from a scrum outside the Canadian 5, going openside and rushing through before Canada could react well enough. Hooper was the man to get their tally going. Both teams kept the game going after the hooter but to the detriment of Australia as Canada snuck over the line snatch the lead going into the break. Australia punched first in the second half and leveled things out at 14 a piece. They held the stalemate for much of the second half, throwing bodies at the Canadian side until eventually they were worn down. Australia went over the line beneath the sticks, putting their physicality to good use. A tight contest, but deserved win for Australia.

New Zealand 5 – 33 Argentina

An exciting fixture expected between these two sides, and they delivered. New Zealand were quick to rush it wide with blistering pace and inside passes, securing an early lead for themselves. Ware the man that got them on the board. Argentina, not ones to role over, brought the same energy in turn. After the five minute mark the sides slowed things down a bit, looking to capitalize on any lapses the other might present in the midfield area. Argentina spotted the gap they needed and made it over twice within two minutes. The half time team talk went about as well as it could’ve for Argentina, spurring them on to secure another two tries, bullying the Kiwis while making it look almost easy. They managed the game well and saw it to a suffocating close. They wrapped it up with a final try for the road, Wade the one to tie the bow.

Pool B

South Africa 31 – 7  Spain

South Africa got off to a flying start in their first game of the tournament with their skipper, Selwyn Davids leading from the front to score the first try of the match and get his team off to an early lead. The Spanish would continue to persevere on attack but some gutsy defense by South Africa would keep them scoreless going into the second half. South Africa would continue to dazzle with speed and precision especially through Rosko ‘Specmagic’ to comfortably run in five tries before Spain could pull one back at the end of the game.

France 17 – 0 Samoa

It’s another riveting encounter between these two teams as the Samoans knew they needed to get off to a strong start in this tournament. The French would have to defend for their lives in the initial stages of the game which awarded them the first try of the match which would be all that separated the two teams going into the second half. France would continue to control the tempo of the game as they kept the intensity with ball in hand with some good offloads in the tackle to find the space in midfield to score a couple more tries for a convincing victory over Samoa.

 

South Africa 15 – 10 Samoa

The first five minutes saw South Africa with the slight edge as they kept Samoa in their half, but not deep enough inside the half to be a danger except for the occasional move forward that was controlled by the defenders. Samoa waited patiently for their opportunity and found it after a slip up allowed the boys in blue space along the wing. They shot forward with ball in hand, getting over the line with Sione. Not a minute after conceding, South Africa pulled one back and leveled it at five a piece going into the break. The South Africans got the first points in the second half with a smart try worked from a line out, Davids at the center of it all. South Africa managed to make it over the line once more, after applying constant pressure. Samoa were unable to overcome the territorial-focused game play by the Blitzboks on this occasion.

France 17 – 12 Spain

Spain had a mission coming into the fixture, and they held to it well, applying good pressure to the French, holding them inside their half. France struggled to exit as they preferred to play the ball out of danger as opposed to clearing, unless absolutely necessary. Eventually, the French cracked under the pressure with Spain coming together as a team and unlocking the opposing team’s defence with style. Spain ensured their slow, methodical approach to the game set the pace, which lead them to half time with a seven point lead. France needed only a minute to unlock the Spanish defence in the second half causing a chain reaction that brought the entire system to its knees. The French went over the try line three times in the second half. The Spanish struggled to adapt to the change in pace, but pulled a second engine out of the bag in the final minutes and got one back via the hands of Moreno.

Pool C

Fiji 14 – 33 United States

The opening round of the men’s tournament certainly started off with a bang with five tries being scored in the first half. The Eagles went into the second half having the lead after an opportunistic bounce of the ball sat up for Perry Baker to get the third try for his team before the break in play. The Fijians would have no answer in the second half to a determined Eagle’s offense who would get over the line for a couple more tries and get their campaign underway with a dream start against a quality Fijian outfit.

Ireland 19 – 5 Great Britain

Ireland got off to a great start in their tournament opener against their neighboring opposition. Great Britain continued to fire shots on attack but just couldn’t find the try-line as Ireland led the game by two tries going into the second half. Frustration would settle in for Great Britain as the Irish starved them of possession in getting back into the game and it’s an impressive start to Ireland’s campaign as they continue to keep the pressure on the log leaders in the series.

Fiji 14 – 19 Great Britain

An even start for both sides as they took each other’s temperatures in the opening minute. Great Britain went on the aggressive first and worked their way forward along the flank, biding their time for the inevitable gap that came when they entered the 22, and allowed them to get the first points. Moments after they weaved another path through the Fijian defence to double their lead, securing the conversion this time around. Fiji regained themselves and held Great Britain out for the remainder of the half, but added nothing to their own tally. The second half was a new chapter for Fiji, as they stitched together a lovely team try that got Talacolo over the line. After minutes of stalemate, Davis linked up with Emery to carry Great Britain over for another try that sealed the deal. Fiji pulled one back but only counting towards their consolation.

Ireland 7 – 10 United States

A slow start to this Pool C fixture. Both teams seemed keen to open up the wings, but Ireland were the first to fly over the line with Kennedy  who dodged a pair before shooting into space to get the initial try. USA, unphased by conceding, continued to attack as if they had nothing to lose. Ireland matched their enthusiasm, resulting in an even and exciting showdown, with Ireland perhaps having the slight edge. USA took seven minutes to pierce the Irish defence, getting it over the line seconds after the hooter had sounded. They missed the conversion so went into the break trailing by two points. Fortunately for them the second half brought good news with it as they crossed the line a couple of minutes into play, giving them the lead. USA showcased spectacular defensive work to keep Ireland outside of the danger zone. A fine tactical performance and deserved win for USA.

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