Hong Kong 7s: Day 2 Results & Day 3 Draw
March 23, 2002

Henry Paul scored his first tries in an England shirt at any level on Saturday as Joe Lydon's side booked a Hong Kong Sevens Cup quarter-final tie with Samoa.

Paul played an influential role as England, after victory over Thailand this morning, beat Pool F's top seeds Argentina to secure unbeaten passage into the last eight.

The former New Zealand rugby league star ran in the first of three England tries against the Pumas, dominating the back line while Phil Greening ran tirelessly as Lydon again opted for a powerful, forwards-based game to combat the unrelenting rain.

Miserable weather disrupted much of the flowing rugby the Hong Kong Sevens is famous for, but England showed glimpses of brilliance, confirming the growing belief they are one of the dark horses for the title.

Paul, though, will hear none of it. The England management are big on ensuring their players have the right mental preparation for games.

And Paul, who missed last week's Beijing tournament to play for Gloucester against Leicester, is a perfect example of remaining calm and focused, refusing to speculate on the possibility of a semi-final clash with Wales.

"We'll just go back to the hotel and keep a low profile," he told PA Sport.

"There is no point saying: 'woo-hoo we have qualified from the Pool'. We have not done anything yet.

"We have got a lot more to do but this side has lot more to give. There are a lot of youngsters and a few old stagers like myself.

"It's slowly coming together. A few new guys have come over but we should be winning by that many.

"After the first game I was knackered. The game is hard to adapt to."

Paul, who starred for Wigan in their Middlesex Sevens triumph in the mid-90s, had looked off the pace yesterday, but was back to his influential best as a structured England side reacted to the adverse conditions.

He walked in a try from halfway against Thailand and took the crucial opening score against the Pumas brilliantly. The Gloucester centre spurned the chance of an overlap, with Richard Haughton on his outside, and cut back, showing a neat turn of pace to slide over near the posts in front of a drenched but enthusiastic South Stand.

"It was a good moment," he said. "At least it will stop the ribbing in the changing room. But it doesn't matter who scores.

"The crowd were awesome, really positive. We got a great ovation and its great to hear. I just hope we can give them something tomorrow.

"But we don't need the crowd," he added. "Out there we are a good side."

In order to set up the possibility of a home nations cup semi, England must overcome Samoa while Wales face Canada, who pulled off the shock of the tournament to dump highly-fancied South Africa into the Plate alongside Scotland.

Wales secured qualification alongside Argentina as the two best runners-up. They followed up yesterday's routing of China with a comfortable 29-7 win over Singapore before holding the rampant Fijians to just 17 points this afternoon.

Scotland, who suffered the ignominy of defeat to Portugal, now have the opportunity for revenge as the two meet in the Plate quarters.

This morning Scotland registered an improvement of sorts to beat Sri Lanka but reserved their best performance for the mighty All Blacks.

They were spirited and energetic, holding the world's best Sevens side to 7-7 at half-time. But at times it looked like men against boys as the professional All Blacks outfit stood firm against the inexperienced, largely amateur Scots.

The one time Scotland managed to breach the solid defensive wall, captain Mark Lee dived over for a score under the posts.

Scotland ran willingly but made few yards and as the energy sapped from them, so New Zealand assumed full control running in three second-half tries.

Lee, though, was happy with the way his side responded to yesterday's defeat to Portugal and with the way they are learning all the time.

He said: "The first half was what we wanted - seven all after seven minutes against the best in the world.

"I said yesterday (after the Portugal defeat) we had to turn it round, get mentally tough and the boys are learning on the international circuit.

"The second half was disappointing but it was down to fitness. Their organisation in defence is what every other team lives up to.

"We were looking to be direct but avoid as much contact as possible because we figured that is where they are strongest. We did better than against Portugal."

Group A
Scotland 19 Sri Lanka 10
New Zealand 54 Portugal 0
Portugal 33 Sri Lanka 0
New Zealand 31 Scotland 7

Group B
Canada 12 Taiwan 5
South Africa 24 Papua New Guinea 7
Papua New Guinea 21 Taiwan 14
South Africa 14 Canada 19

Group C
United States 28 Hong Kong 19
Samoa 33 Russia 0
Russia 0 Hong Kong 7
Samoa 19 United States 5

Group D
France 12 Morocco 7
Australia 33 Korea 0
South Korea 22 Morocco 10
Australia 22 France 0

Group E
Wales 29 Singapore 7
Fiji 66 China 0
China 34 Singapore 7
Fiji 17 Wales 0

Group F
England 33 Thailand 5
Argentina 33 Japan 5
Japan 33 Thailand 10
Argentina 5 England 19

Day 3 Draw:

Cup Competition Quarter-Finals

New Zealand v Argentina
Fiji v Australia
Samoa v England
Wales v Canada

Plate Competition Quarter-Finals

South Africa v Papua New Guinea
Korea v France
Portugal v Scotland
Hong Kong v USA

Bowl Competition Quarter-Finals

Japan v Singapore
Russia v Chinese Taipei
Morocco v Sri Lanka
Thailand v China

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