Eves a big fish in pool

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COMPARED with the Five Nations' Championship, the Hong Kong Sevens is not exactly the Lord Mayor's Show. But while their 15-a-side compatriots celebrate a third Grand Slam in five seasons, England's sevens specialists are now enjoying their own rare moment in the limelight.

Yesterday, England progressed to the last eight with pool victories over Papua New Guinea and Canada. Against the Pacific islanders, the winning score was 26-7 thanks to two tries by Wasps' Nick Greenstock and one each from Derek Eves, the Bristol captain, and his fellow flanker Richard Hill, of Saracens. Austin Healey, the Orrell fly-half, rounded off with three conversions.

The margin over Canada was 19-5 with tries from Eves, Hill and Steve Hackney, and conversions by Dave Scully and Healey, who needs to make a swift recovery from an ankle injury if he is to play in today's quarter- final against Australia.

Ireland's tournament is already over after a 12-12 draw with Portugal and a 26-19 loss to eventual pool winners Namibia.

Australia's World Cup preparations suffered a jolt in Sydney yesterday when their giant back row forward, Willie Ofahengaue, tore knee ligaments during New South Wales's 23-21 Super-10 win over Western Province.

In League One of the Courage Clubs' Championship, Sale maintained their recent form with a 20-8 win at Gloucester while Orrell got the better of Bristol by 20-16 in the other mid-table battle.

Saracens secured the League Two title and their return to the top flight with a 32-7 home success over Nottingham. Gregg Botterman, England's "replacement" replacement hooker against Scotland last weekend, was one of their four try scorers.

Neil Jenkins, who last week eclipsed Colin Bolderson as Pontypridd's record points scorer, added a further 21 in the 66-0 demolition of Old Illtydians in the Swalec Cup sixth round.

n South Africa have accepted an invitation to play England on 18 November to mark the official opening of the new West Stand at Twickenham.