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.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

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

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones