Henry Paul looked every inch an international player as he guided England through to the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Sevens here with a 19-5 victory over Pool F top seeds Argentina.
Paul scored the first of three England tries and dominated the back line while Phil Greening ran tirelessly as coach Joe Lydon again opted for a powerful, forwards-based game to combat the unrelenting rain. The miserable weather has disrupted much of the flowing rugby the Hong Kong Sevens is famous for, but England showed glimpses of the form which has made them dark horses for the title in many eyes here.
After a hard-fought opening, England worked their first real opportunity and Paul cut back and score only his second try in England colours. The first came earlier when England comfortably beat Thailand, but Argentina proved a much tougher nut. Richard Haughton's excellent cover tackle preserved England's lead, the Saracens wing punching clear a well-weighted chip forward, and he soon doubled England's advantage after a superb pick-up from a bobbling ball before stretching over in the corner.
Ben Gollings stretched his legs to score from 80 metres after Simon Amor had taken a quick penalty. James Simpson-Daniel then spilled the ball over his own line to allow Benjamin Bourse a consolation score in added time.
Wales lost to Fiji but held them to just 17 points to book their own place in the last eight as one of two best-placed pool runners-up. It was a feisty encounter, with Gareth Baber swinging a punch at Waisale Serevi and getting involved in a number of scuffles. In dreadful conditions, Fiji's superior ball skills proved the difference.
The main shock came with the elimination of South Africa after they were stunned 19-14 by Canada. South Africa's failure to beat Papua New Guinea and Taiwan by significant enough margins relegated them into the Plate competition alongside Scotland, whose game against the All Blackswas men against boys. Scotland ran willingly but made few yards and as the energy drained, so New Zealand assumed full control and ran in three second-half tries to win 31-7.Reuse content