Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 - Day 1
Major sides survive unscathed in Dubai
March 5, 2009
Fiji's Neumi Nanuku vies with the Georgia defence, Fiji v Georgia, Rugby World Cup Sevens, The Sevens, Dubai, March 5, 2009
Fiji's Neumi Nanuku vies with the robust Georgia defence © Getty Images

The first day of the Rugby World Cup Sevens flew by in Dubai, with all of the major sides avoiding any embarrassing upsets. The top seeds, South Africa and England, saw off Japan and Hong Kong respectively while there were also wins for Fiji, Argentina and New Zealand.

England survived an early scare as Hong Kong were first on the scoresheet before Tom Biggs tore through Hong Kong's defence to score just before half time. Ben Gollings converted for England to take the lead at the break.

England scored five tries in the second half, with the returning Tom Varndell crossing for two. Varndell broke up the left wing to score right under the posts for Gollings to convert before some good handling from Chris Cracknell and Kevin Barrett awarded Gollings with his first try of the tournament. Gollings and Josh Drauniniu added further scores before Varndell chipped in with his second.

South Africa enjoyed a full run-out against Japan, winning 26-5 and being challenged by a fired-up Japanese outfit. The Springboks showed their class and enviable pace out wide with tries from Mpho Mbiyozo, Frankie Horne, Gio Aplon and Renfred Dazell.

Fiji looked less than convincing in defeating Georgia, leading 12-10 at half-time after some rugged defence and fine counter-attacking from the Georgians. Peni Rokodiva, Napolioni Nalaga, Vilimoni Delasau and Neumi Nanuku all crossed for Fiji but there will be some worries over their defence as the tournament progresses.

New Zealand, enduring a difficult season in the IRB Sevens World Series, cruised to victory over Italy. Viliame Waqaseduadua was in scintillating form as he crossed for two tries while Paul Grant, Chad Tuoro, Lote Raikabula and skipper D J Forbes also scored tries to see off a committed but limited Italy side.

In the earlier clashes of the day, Argentina were unconvincing in defeating Uruguay 19-7, leaving them behind Wales in Pool F on points differenced after the Dragons eased past Zimbabwe 31-5. Ireland and Scotland both had opening days to forget, the Irish going down 35-5 to Samoa and Scotland being routed 33-14 by a psyched-up Canadian side.


Pool A:
New Zealand
Arabian Gulf

Pool B:
United States

Pool C:
South Africa

Pool D:

Pool E:
Hong Kong

Pool F:


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