Wales surprise Kiwis in sevens

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The Independent Online

England and Wales progressed to the quarter-finals at the third round of the IRB Sevens Series in Wellington yesterday. England beat France and Canada but lost to Argentina on day one, meaning they qualified in second place in Pool C behind the South American side. They will play Fiji, who topped Pool D, in the last eight.

Wales, meanwhile, recorded one of the upsets of the day by beating hosts New Zealand in their first game of Pool B to finish second. They will play Kenya tomorrow.

But Scotland will contest the Bowl event after finishing in the bottom half of Pool A, following defeats to South Africa and Tonga and a win over Kenya.

England had to come from behind twice in their opening match against France before prevailing 26-10. A solo effort by Kevin Barrett, which was converted by Ben Gollings, put them 7-5 up just before the break. Simon Bouty then scored to give France a 10-7 lead before five-pointers from Oliver Phillips, Isoa Damudamu and Andrew Vilk saw England home.

They had a far easier time of it against Canada, winning 34-7. Phillips, Tom Biggs and Damudamu all scored in the first half to give England a 17-0 lead at the break. Robert Vickerman added another try less than a minute into the second half. The only blot on the day was a 13-5 loss to Argentina, which cost them top spot in Pool C. Argentina had a 10-0 half-time lead and although Barrett got on the scoresheet again it wasn't enough.

Wales enjoyed a rare victory against defending champions New Zealand, winning 28-17. The Kiwis had Tomasi Cama sent off after an exchange of blows with Lee Beach early in the game and then had DJ Forbes sin-binned partway through the first half.

This allowed the Welsh to race into a 28-5 lead thanks to tries from Ruodri McAtee, Aled Brew, Taliesin Selley and Rhys Webb. Although New Zealand fought back through Viliame Waqaseduadua and Forbes, they were unable to overhaul the Welsh.

Wales couldn't repeat their heroics against Australia, however, going down 24-15 after trailing 19-0 late in the first half. A try by Lee Williams shortly before half-time sparked the fightback, with McAtee and Tom Isaacs reducing the deficit to 19-15, but Aiden Toua scored late for the Aussies to put the game beyond Wales' reach.

They finished strongly, though, with a six-try 36-10 victory against the South Pacific island nation of Niue to guarantee themselves a place in the last-eight.

The other big upset of the day was the United States' 15-10 win against Fiji, a result which helped the US to their second successive Series Cup quarter-final.