IRB Sevens World Series
Hosts New Zealand hit top form in Wellington
ESPNscrum Staff
February 4, 2011
Fiji's Seremaia Burotu offloads as he flies out, Fiji v France, Day One, Wellington Sevens, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand, February 4, 2011
Fiji's Seremaia Burotu offloads as he flies into touch during day one at the Westpac Stadium © Getty Images

New Zealand, England and Australia all went unbeaten on the first day of the latest IRB Sevens World Series event at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Hosts New Zealand will now tackle Wales in the Cup quarter-finals while current Series leaders England will take on Argentina. Australia's reward for defeating reigning champions Samoa is a date with South Africa while the Samoans meet Fiji in the other last eight clash.

James Rodwell scored two of five England tries as they beat Wales 33-7 to end day one with a 100% record. Earlier in the day, two second half tries from Mat Turner and one from captain Ben Gollings helped them defeat the Cook Islands 21-17 after trailing 17-0 at half-time. And Dan Caprice also scored two tries in a 31-10 victory over USA in their opening pool match.

Wales finished as runners-up in Pool A after Paul John's side proved too strong for Al Caravelli's USA, scoring six tries in their 36-5 victory. The reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens champions earlier defeated the Cook Islands 31-12 - Adam Vardy and Nathan Robinson scored for Ramsey Tomokino's side but two tries from Ifan Evans helped secure victory for the Welsh. USA ensured they finished third after narrowly beating the Cook Islands 19-14.

New Zealand finished proceedings on day one by beating Argentina 34-7 to top Pool B. Flyer Frank Halai scored the second hat-trick of day one, whilst fellow NZ Sevens debutant Declan O'Donnell added two further tries in the victory against Los Pumas. Earlier they scored seven tries in their victory against Papua New Guinea, including two from Buxton Popoalii, to secure their place in the Cup quarter finals. Halai scored his first two tries of the day in their 29-12 victory against Scotland. Argentina face a match with England after a 22-14 victory against Scotland and a 14-10 win over Papua New Guinea.

Australia made it three wins from three with a convincing 29-5 victory over Samoa. Ed Jenkins scored two of their five tries to top Pool C, after opening victories over Kenya and Tonga. Michael O'Connor's side left it late against Kenya, needing a Shaun Foley try and nerves of steel from Hamish Angus to convert and snatch a late 21-19 victory. Sidney Ashioya had earlier received the biggest cheer of the day as he gave Kenya a 19-14 lead against Australia, but when they were reduced to six men in the final seconds they were unable to hold on.

In their opening match Henry Vanderglas marked his return to the Australia Sevens squad with their opening try of the day in their 47-7 victory against 2008 NZ Sevens Cup semi finalists Tonga in the day's second match, with captain Bernard Foley also scoring two tries. Two tries from Afa Aiono helped Samoa defeat South Sea Island rivals Tonga 17-0, which added to an earlier 24-21 victory against Kenya. Ofisa Treviranus came off the bench to score two tries in the second half of the opening match on day one. In the same match captain Lolo Lui scored the opening try of the 2011 NZI Sevens against Kenya. In the penultimate Pool C match, Tonga defeated Kenya 17-10 to finish third and face a Bowl quarter final with Canada.

Defending champions Fiji also head into day two unbeaten after finishing day one with a 7-7 draw against Paul Treu's South Africa. Fiji began the defence of their title in emphatic fashion - 42-0 and 38-0 victories against France and Canada. Mitieli Nacagilvu and Watisoni Votu scored two tries apiece against France before Seremaia Burotu scored the first hat-trick of the 2011 NZI Sevens against Canada, taking his tally to 16 for the season.

Mathieu Acebes kicked a decisive conversion following Renaud Delmas' try seconds before the final whistle as France defeated South Africa 14-12 in Pool D. Paul Treu's side had twice held the lead, but Renfred Dazel's missed conversion at the start of the second half proved to be decisive. France were unable, however, to beat Canada in their final Pool D match to progress to the Cup quarter finals. Three Canada tries, including one from captain Nathan Hirayama, meant Geriant John's side secured a 19-14 victory.

Paul Treu's South Africa have won the Wellington Sevens just once, in 2002, and currently sit fifth in the World Series with 24 points. They beat Canada 31-5 in their first match of day one, captain Kyle Brown helping with two tries and they now face Australia in the Cup quarters.

Cup quarter finals:
England v Argentina
Fiji v Samoa
Australia v South Africa
New Zealand v Wales

Bowl quarter finals:
USA v Scotland
France v Kenya
Tonga v Canada
Papua New Guinea v Cook Islands

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