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For fans on the Gold

Posted by DMT in Environment on August 8th, 2018


By Christian Edwards


BRISBANE Justin Reid Jersey , Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Despite a strong turnaround from hosts Australia, the defending champions from New Zealand and an implacable South Africa unit were the only undefeated teams after Day One of the HSBC World Series Rugby sevens opener on Australia's Gold Coast.


Boosted by a partisan home crowd, Australia will now face-off against a very slick Kenyan side in a rematch of the 2012 quarter-final after a slow strat at the rugby sevens world series opener on the Gold Coast, Saturday.


The defending champions New Zealand got off to a typically ruthless start, smashing all before them in their first three pool matches.


The New Zealanders didn't let in a single point on the first day of action.


Sir Gordon Tietjens' side walloped USA (38-0), then a hapless Tonga (26-0) and finally the usually stalwart Kenyans (31-0) and will now most likely ride rough-shod over a weakened Samoa in the Cup quarter finals.


South Africa' s powerful sevens unit - popularly known as 'The Blitzbokke,' kept a clean slate and a 100 percent record and will now take on a fiery Welsh outifit.


Wales' 22-19 win ensured they went through to the quarter-finals at Canada's expense and they'll face South Africa for a semi-final spot.


It was an unpleasant day at the office for Canada, who lost inspirational captain Nathan Hirayama to a badly broken leg.


Australia began their day by surrendering a 21-point lead to hang-n barely for a 21-all draw with Scotland, but rebounded with string performances in wins over Argentina and Samoa to move into the final eight.


The hosts Australia bounced back from a 21-21 draw with Scotland, a match in which they led 21-0, to win their matches with Argentina and Samoa to the delight of the home crowd to set up a quarter final with Kenya, who beat Tonga and USA in their first two matches before coming up against the reigning Series champions.


Sean McMahon bagged Australia's first try of their home tournament, but they were stunned into meek submission when Scottish flyer James Fleming scored with the last play of the match.


Former Australian Seven' s representative Jacob Taylor told Xinhua there was still a lot to like about an Australian team in transition.


""The Gold Coast Sevens is the first fixture of the World Series, and so its exciting because you see a lot of new talent come out of the wood work.


""In the Australian side I'm looking forward to watching Shannon Walker baffle the opposition defense - he's an incredibly illusive runner. Also looking for veteran James Stannard to make his mark on this year's series, he has the capacity to control the tempo of the game which is a rare skill in such a fast-paced, frenetic sport like sevens,"" Taylor added.


In game two for the hosts, Nick Malouf ran in a duet in the 22-7 win over 'Los Pumas' before some fine tackling rammed home a tight 12-0 win over Samoa, with tries from captain Ed Jenkins and Shannon Walker.


Effectively another Chinese unsung invention - Sevens was unofficially born in Hong Kong - today's international Sevens, with seven players on a team, playing seven minute halves across a weekend of competition, has become a stadium sport in its own right.


In 1982, sevens outgrew its original home at the Hong Kong Football Club and was relocated to the massive Hong Kong Stadium and - as ticket demands regularly outstretched capacity - the stadium was rebuilt in 1994 as the 40,000 cauldron it is today.


Adopting a naming-rights sponsor in 2011, the HSBC Sevens World Series now boasts a core of 16 of the world' s top teams which compete in tournaments across the globe.


New Zealand has claimed the Sevens World Series on eight occasions since its inception with Fiji,South Africa and Samoa the only other winners.


For fans on the Gold Coast, redemption is in the air, as the Australians have never won a title, despite featuring regularly in the top three in three of the 11 seasons - 199900, 200001 and 200910.


Sevens Rugby now enjoys Olympic status and is set to make its first appearance on the playing roster, in the men's and women's competitions, in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.


Taylor told Xinhua that the carnival atmosphere of Sevens rugby is an important part of its success.


""Above all the Gold Coast Sevens is a good day out for the spectators and so I'd love to see a healthy crowd dressed to the hilt enjoying the carnival that is Rugby Sevens.


Samoa's defeat means they now have the unenviable task of trying to topple the in-form New Zealanders, who are aiming to go one better after losing the past two finals on the Gold Coast.


The defending world champions kicked-off their campaign in imperious style, winning all three matches and scoring 95 unanswered points along the way to send out a warning to the rest of the competition.


Two-time tournament champions Fiji were a shodow of their fearsome selves yet still managed to top their pool while hardly firing a shot in anger and losing to the frisky Welsh in their final game.


Fiji will now face a lightning quick England, who enjoyed a 54-7 feast of undercooked - bordering on raw - Spanish defence.

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