Big wins dominate opening day in Hong Kong
March 22, 2002

Day One of the Hong Kong 7's finished with the usual suspects looking comfortable though Hong Kong put up a spirited fight against Pool C seeds Samoa. Samoa needed three long-range tries from Ron Fanuatanu (2) and Gaolo Elisara to secure their win.

While the New Zealanders and Fijians each amassed a plenty of points against Sri Lanka and Singapore, other wins were enjoyed by Wales, Canada, Argentina and England, all of whom will be looking at Cup quarter-final berths.

Wales, with a strengthened line-up that includes Arwel Thomas and Emyr Lewis, beat China 56-0 in the day's biggest win, scoring four converted tries in each half.

Skipper Lewis and Steve Winn bagged a brace of tries each to undo George Simpkin's Chinese, who wilted under the constant barrage of tackles.

England have also added steel to the side that reached the Wellington semi-finals last month. New Zealand-born Henry Paul, who made his Test debut two weeks ago for England against France, adapted quickly to the shortened code with England beating Japan 47-0.

Japan began well but were gradually over-run as their opponents took a firm grip on the match. With apparent speed throughout the team, England may well prove to be a dark horse over the weekend. Cambridge fly-half Simon Amor and Gloucester's James Simpson-Daniel picked up two tries each.

But while England and Wales were enjoying the running rugby, neighbours Scotland became the first casualty when they fell 26-14 to Portugal.

The Portuguese reached the Bowl final at last year's World Cup 7s, and showed they had pace aplenty in keeping Scotland under pressure from the opening whistle.

Another team radically upgraded for this tournament are Canada, who fielded their strongest team so far on this year's world circuit. Back on duty are stalwarts Morgan Williams, Gregor Dixon, Winston Stanley and Nik Witkowski, and their experience stood out as Canada whitewashed the normally creative Papua New Guinea 34-0.

The USA overcame a physical challenge from Russia to triumph 26-5 after being level 5-5 at half-time. David Fee and Jovesa Naivalu scored cracking tries from their own half as the Americans attempt to emulate their quarter-final finish in Brisbane.

Korea, continuing their fine form from Beijing, where they defeated Argentina and scored three tries against New Zealand, played outstanding rugby for seven minutes as they romped to a 19-0 half-time lead against France.

However in the dying seconds of the game France scored a miracle try in the third minute of injury time to secure a remarkable 21-19 win.

The Koreans, showing great sevens style and speed, led 19-7 with a minute to play and really should have scored a fourth try. But Davy Larguet snatched possession on his own line and set up a try at the other end for Fred Lartigue to make it 19-14. And after the hooter, Korea had plenty of possession but didnĀ¹t think of booting the ball out.

Eventually, the inevitable happened, France turned over possession and scored under the posts.

For the young Australians, Milton Thaiday looked superb, accelerating away and cutting in and out to score twice against Morocco as his team won 31-7 despite leading just 10-7 at the breather.

New Zealand and South Africa had few problems putting points on Sri Lanka and Chinese Taipei, respectively, while Fiji looked dangerous in their 55-0 win over Singapore.

The Kiwis' younger team members showed the way with two tries apiece to Nick Evans, Anthony Tuitavake and Josh Blackie, and one each to Hayden Reid, Craig de Goldi and Joe Rokocoko.

Speedster Brent Russell and skipper Paul Treu scored four tries between them to see off the useful Taiwanese, who ran in two second-half tries of their own in the 44-12 defeat.

Malaysia-based Aporosa Dauvucu, meanwhile, scored a second-half hat-trick for Fiji, and Bill Satala managed two.

Dauvucu, a late inclusion to the squad to add some pace, came on at half-time for Jo Uluivuda at prop while Satala moved into the hooker's position as Asiveni Lutumailagi joined the backline.

Fiji played fairly cautiously throughout with Singapore rarely seeing the Fijian half let alone their try-line.

Argentina conceded an early try to Jirawat of Thailand and nearly went further behind before regrouping and running out 49-5 winners.

Results for Friday, 22 March, 2002
New Zealand 51 Sri Lanka 0
Scotland 14 Portugal 26

Pool B
South Africa 44 Chinese Taipei 12
Canada 34 Papua New Guinea 0

Pool C
Samoa 35 Hong Kong 7
USA 26 Russia 5

Pool D
Australia 31 Morocco 7
France 21 South Korea 19

Pool E
Fiji 55 Singapore 0
Wales 56 China 0

Pool F
Argentina 49 Thailand 5
England 47 Japan 0

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.