Saturday February 2, 2013
Upsets abound as Fiji get relegated
WELLINGTON: Former world champion Fiji were relegated to the second-tier bowl for the first time in their history as upsets abounded on the first day of the Wellington Rugby Sevens yesterday.
The top four teams in the world standings all suffered shock losses in a day of turmoil at the fourth stop on the world circuit.
First-placed New Zealand were beaten 19-14 by England in their opening match before posting unconvincing wins over Spain and the United States to scrape into the top-tier cup quarter-finals.
But second-placed France and third-placed Fiji both failed to qualify for the Cup and will play in the consolation Bowl today.
At the end of a hyper-competitive pool stage, only Kenya, Samoa and Australia could boast 100% records.
Scotland and England reached the Cup quarters for the first time this season and join South Africa who progressed on points differential at the expense of Wales and Canada.
England were at their best yesterday.
In their first match Ben Ryan’s side stunned the home fans in Wellington as a try to Dan Norton and a brilliant double to the returning Mat Turner saw England defeat the All Black Sevens 19-14.
The USA then played out a 12-12 with England, before Tom Powell, Marcus Watson, Turner, and Sam Edgerley scored in a 28-5 defeat of Spain.
New Zealand hit back impressively following their opening defeat, beating Spain 36-5 including a try for Rocky Khan in his Series debut.
Gordon Tietjens’ side progressed to meet Australia on day two after coming from 5-0 behind to beat USA 17-5 in the final match of day one.
Kenya booked their place in the Cup quarters with a 17-10 defeat of Tonga, to remain unbeaten on day one, and will be joined by runners-up Argentina following Los Pumas’ 17-14 win against France thanks to a last-gasp penalty drop goal from Javier Rojas.
Samoa were one of three sides to end day one with 100% records as they beat Canada 26-12 thanks to two tries from Lio Lolo in their third and final match.
They will be joined by South Africa who had to rely on points differential to reach the Cup quarters, beating Wales 21-0 to ensure they progressed at the expense of Paul John’s side.
Scotland caused the first major upset of day one by beating Fiji 14-12, who will now compete in their first ever Bowl quarter final. — Agencies