Fiji back with a vengeance in Wales rout

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iol news pic mar28 Fiji v Wales Hong Kong Rugby Sevens AP Fiji's Samisoni Viriviri, center, runs with the ball against Wales during the first day match of the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament. (AP Photo/ Kin Cheung)

Hong Kong - Defending champions Fiji showed they would tolerate no revenge attempt from Wales for last year's agonising Cup final defeat, routing them 42-7 on the first night of the Hong Kong Sevens Friday.

Wales' Samuel Cross took an early try in the Pool A clash, but it was swiftly answered by Fiji's Samisoni Viriviri, who opened the floodgates.

Five tries later, despite a gritty effort by Wales to keep the pressure up, Fiji had thrown down the gauntlet to Series leaders South Africa and New Zealand.

Fiji coach Ben Ryan said his team had “a look in their eye” on the pitch. “They want this. We didn't start too well but at least this one's out the way after a long day waiting,” he added.

New Zealand, who took to the field with something to prove after finishing fourth in the Tokyo round of the tournament last weekend, pounded Scotland 33-0.

But perhaps more ominous for Fiji was a 31-7 win by Series leader South Africa against France.

While Fiji has won 14 times in Hong Kong and New Zealand 11, the “Blitzbokke” - who have 116 points to New Zealand's 114 and Fiji's 95 - are still seeking their maiden title in the southern Chinese city.

England's James Rodwell, playing his 50th cap, scored one of England's three tries against old rivals Argentina, helping them to a hard-fought 19-12 victory.

The United States, who impressed in Tokyo last week, came out fighting against a lacklustre Samoa, with the Eagles taking the game 26-12, while Canada put Portugal on notice with a 35-7 victory.

A tight Australia-Spain game saw the Aussies forced to batter their way through the Spanish defences to win the gruelling game 28-14.

Kenya were merciless against Sri Lanka in the worst rout of the night, scoring six tries in 11 minutes, with an almost taunting seventh try coming at the death to seal Sri Lanka's fate 41-0.

In the qualifying rounds, where 12 teams are battling for entry to the Series next year, Japan conceded nothing, defeating Uruguay 24-0 and vanquishing tiny Trinidad 41-0.

Hong Kong, receiving a roar of welcome from the home fans, held off Tunisia 19-7 before overthrowing American Samoa 38-7.

There were boos from the crowd as Russia took on Barbados in a David-and-Goliath second round battle where the Bajans, perhaps spurred on by the knowledge that the raucous South Stand was firmly on their side, scored two tries Ä but ultimately lost 45-10.

The pool games continue Saturday, with Fiji meeting Sri Lanka and Kenya, South Africa taking on Spain and Australia, and New Zealand facing Samoa and the US.

Sapa-AFP



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