Wales draw with Portugal in sevens opener
World Cup Sevens
January 26, 2001

Wing Shane Williams grabbed two tries as Wales came from behind to snatch a 19-19 draw with Portugal in their opening World Cup Sevens encounter in Argentina today.

Williams, dropped from the Six Nations squad for next weekend's game against England, struck twice in quick succession after Wales looked to be heading for a nightmare start in Group D.

The Neath player opened his account in the second half with a mazy run down the right before shrugging off the strength-sapping heat and humidity in Mar del Plata with a stunning 80-metre score.

Williams was deep inside his own half when he kicked ahead and sprinted past the last defender before picking up to score. Newport's Emyr Lewis converted to bring Wales level.

Wales could have claimed victory in the dying seconds with Newport's Andy Marinos just unable to catch a loose ball, while Bristol's Gareth Baber saw a try disallowed.

Portugal had rocked Wales with a try in the opening seconds from Miguel Portela, who added a second just before half-time to give his side a 14-7 lead at the break.

Skipper Jason Forster had levelled for Wales with an unchallenged run from the halfway line after more good work from Williams, who cleverly found him after being tackled.

The Portuguese looked to be heading for victory when Antonio Aguilar scored soon after the restart, but Williams' double salvo kept Wales in the hunt with tough games to come against Australia and Samoa later today.

Williams said: ``It took us a while to adjust to playing sevens and Portugal are a good team, but I think we should have got a win in the end with that disallowed try.

``I haven't played sevens rugby since I was in comprehensive school and it was really hard, especially in this heat.

``I must admit I wanted to stop a couple of times on that second try. Running that distance in these conditions takes it out of you.''

Australia ran in five tries as they began their quest for the Melrose Cup with a 29-5 victory over Hong Kong, while Samoa totalled seven as they proved too strong for the United States running out 49-19 winners.

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