Turner sails to the rescue after Cook Islands serve up scare

England, the top seeds, England had to come from 17-0 down at half-time to beat the Cook Islands 21-17 and to preserve their unbeaten record on the opening day of the New Zealand round of the world sevens rugby series yesterday.

England needed a last-minute try by Mat Turner to claw back the lead and to qualify at the top of Pool A in the four-pool, 16-team tournament.

New Zealand topped Pool B, Australia topped Pool C – knocking the world champions Samoa into second place – and defending champions Fiji topped Pool D, despite being held 7-7 by South Africa in their last game.

England will play Argentina, Fiji will meet Samoa, Australia will face South Africa and New Zealand will tackle Wales in quarter-finals today.

The Cook Islands rocked England in their second pool match with tries to Turori Matutu, Sailosi Nagi and Koiatu Koiatu to lead 17-0 at half-time. England recovered with two second-half tries to Turner and another to the veteran Ben Gollings, the leading all-time pointscorer in the world series who also added three conversions.

In their other pool matches, England beat the United States 31-12 and Wales 33-7.

New Zealand also struggled early, beating Scotland 29-12, before finding their tryscoring touch to beat Papua New Guinea 45-0 and Argentina 34-7. The newcomer Frank Halai scored three tries against Argentina to finish the first day with six, lifting his tally in three tournaments so far this season to 16.

"The game against Argentina was a good game to take confidence into tomorrow and into the game against Wales because they're a tough team to beat," said the New Zealand coach, Gordon Tietjens.

Australia beat Samoa 29-5 in the final game in Pool C to finish at the top of the most hotly contested pool. They had previously beaten Tonga 47-7 and Kenya 21-19 while Samoa, the champions in Wellington two years ago, beat luckless Kenya 24-21 and Tonga 17-0.

Fiji opened their campaign with two impressive wins, 42-0 win over France and 38-0 over Canada, before drawing with South Africa. Seremaia Burotu scored Fiji's only try in the fourth minute of the first half while Branco du Preez converted his own try to equalise with less than a minute of the match remaining.

South Africa had earlier been beaten 14-12 by France in one of the major upsets of the first day.

England lead the world series with 44 points after two rounds from New Zealand with 40 and Samoa with 36.

Suggested Topics
Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week