IRB George 7s Day One Review
December 10, 2004

England tonight eased into the quarter-finals of this season's IRB Emirates Airlines South Africa Sevens - but coach Mike Friday warned that they will need to step up a gear.

England completed a successful opening day by defeating Australia 24-12 to finish top of Pool B and secure a last-eight appointment with outsiders Tunisia tomorrow.

Having won the IRB Series' opening tournament in Dubai last week, England are now strongly backed to complete a quickfire double.

Earlier in the day, Friday's men saw of Kenya 26-0 and Ireland 31-19, but they will now face the familiar presence of rivals like New Zealand and Fiji when the knock-out rounds take centre stage tomorrow.

"I am pleased that we have won all three pool matches and have progressed through to the quarter finals, but there is still a lot to work on," said Friday.

"We still haven't put a full game together, and we must step up a level for tomorrow when the real tournament begins."

Northampton prospect Neil Starling made an immediate impression when he scored a hat-trick in the victory over Kenya, while Wasps' Peter Richards' second half touchdown completed a comprehensive triumph despite England being without injured skipper Simon Amor and the suspended Pat Sanderson.

Newcastle teenager Mathew Tait claimed a try double, as did Richards, in the win against Ireland, but a couple of defensive errors gave Friday cause for concern going into the final group game against Australia.

But having beaten Australia in Dubai, England were confident of repeating the feat, and so it proved as tries from Richards, Richard Haughton, Geoff Appleford and Tony Rocques saw them home.

Tunisia, who beat France and drew with Portugal to finish second in Pool A, now await them tomorrow morning.

"The new boys played well again today," added Friday.

"Neil Starling's hat-trick was encouraging in the first game against Kenya, and both Mathew Tait and Ollie Phillips played well during the day.

"Kai Horstman was also impressive, performing well when we really needed him in the absence of Pat Sanderson."

The quarter-final line up will be completed by New Zealand facing Kenya, host nation South Africa tackling Argentina and Fiji meeting Samoa.

Australia suffered a major upset in their second group game.

The Australians, who had beaten Ireland 26-22 in their opening game lost out to Kenya 21-24 in their second game.

Scotland narrowly failed to make the last eight, despite drawing with Argentina and beating the Arabian Gulf, while Ireland also went out of the main tournament after battling performances in losing to England and Australia.

France were once again the pool stage fall guys, suffering a 12-7 defeat against Tunisia and only managing a 12-12 draw with Portugal.

For all the results from Day 1 click here

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