South African 7s Latest
December 13, 2002

England stumbled into an unenviable quarter-final draw against reigning world champions New Zealand, and Kenya emerged as a major force at the Emirates South Africa Sevens.

England were up and down all day in a tournament they were touted to do well in, and their major 'down' came late as they defended poorly against Australia and lost 19-14.

Earlier in the day they also beat France 19-10 and Namibia 19-7.

The defeat by Australia set up their showdown with New Zealand on Saturday morning, but the big talk of the day surrounded Kenya's performances.

The Africans ran home side South Africa close 21-19 in the opening game, then thrashed Wales 19-0 and Arabian Gulf 47-0.

Their wins set up a potentially physical match with Fiji, who won Pool C thanks to a narrow 14-12 win over Dubai finalists Samoa.

Samoa face South Africa in the next round after the hosts had a consistent first round, much to the delight of coach Chester Williams.

"I'm much happier playing Samoa than Fiji," Williams said after Fiji's 14-12 win over their South Pacific neighbours.

Williams watched as his side then surged to a 40-5 demolition of Arabian Gulf, a team made up of part-timers who have made a big impression on the sevens circuit.

South Africa ended the night with an impressive 26-7 victory over Wales, but that did not mean Williams was able to relax.

Williams said: "Against Wales we knew we could beat them, it was just a matter of by how much. But there is so much expectation that the pressure will definitely be on tomorrow."

Fiji face Kenya and Australia take on Argentina in the other quarter-finals of the Cup on Saturday morning.

Grouped in Pool A alongside Italy, Argentina and minnows Zambia, New Zealand saved their best until last on day one, running in six unanswered tries in a 32-0 demolition of the Pumas to set up the quarter-final clash with England.

However, the final pool match had its fair share of off-the-ball incidents, with two players from each side sent to the sinbin by South African referee Craig Joubert.

French player Fabien Bernaud was suspended from all rugby until January 11 after being sent off for striking by New Zealand referee Lyndon Bray in a Pool B match against England.

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