Upsets abound at NZ Sevens

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iol spt feb7 Fiji-NZ Sevens Getty Images Emosi Mulevoro of Fiji dives over to score a try during their Pool B match against New Zealand. Picture: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images

Wellington, New Zealand – Fiji shocked hosts New Zealand 12-7 their group match to qualify with an unbeaten record for the quarter-finals at the Wellington Sevens on Friday.

While Fiji topped Pool B and will face Argentina in the quarter-finals, defending champions England beat South Africa 19-5 to finish unbeaten in Pool A and to earn a play-off on Saturday against Samoa.

Canada won all three matches in Pool C, including a decider against Argentina 24-5. The reward for their first-place finish was a quarter-final clash with New Zealand, who clinched second place in Pool B with a 47-0 win over France.

Australia nipped Samoa 15-12 in a thriller to top Pool D and will play South Africa in the last eight.

Tom Mitchell scored the first and last tries while James Rodwell scored another as England powered past South Africa in their decisive pool match. England coach Simon Amor praised his team's defensive performance against a South African team coming off a win at the world series' last stop in Las Vegas.

“We have been up and down,” Amor said. “We know we have wonderful attacking players and against South Africa James Rodwell and Phil Burgess were brilliant, especially Burgess, considering he's hardly played any sevens games.

“We need to step up against Samoa.”

Fiji followed their win over archrivals New Zealand with a 26-5 win over France and 45-14 win over Spain.

“I'm pleased with today,” Fiji coach Ben Ryan said. “It's now about sleeping well and coming out competitive tomorrow.

“I know chasing the top two is going to be hard but we haven't given up hope.”

Cameron Clark kicked a penalty on the final hooter to give Australia a come-from-behind win over Samoa in the decisive match in Pool D.

Samoa led 12-5 less than two minutes into the second half but substitute Shannon Walker scored a superb solo try from his own 22 which allowed Australia to tie the scores, and Clark settled the match with his late penalty goal.

New Zealand were stirred into action by their loss to Fiji and went on to crush Spain 55-0 and France 47-0.

Captain DJ Forbes said: “We can forget today and start afresh tomorrow. We are disappointed to lose at home. But we have bounced back and are looking ahead to the quarterfinals now.” – Sapa-AP


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