x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

How it happened: Day two Rugby World Cup Sevens

All the action from the second day of the Rugby World Cup Sevens at The Sevens stadium in Dubai.

Catch all of the coverage live from our reporters in Dubai.
Catch all of the coverage live from our reporters in Dubai.

So, an exciting day of pool matches comes to an end. It was a festival of rugby and a colourful, good-natured spectacle due to the thousands of fans from around the world that came to enjoy it. It is now to the knockout stages we look. The quarter-final draw for the Melrose Cup is as follows: New Zealand v Wales England v Samoa South Africa v Argentina Kenya v Fiji Thanks for joining me today for The National's coverage of the second day of the Rugby World Cup Sevens from Dubai. Join us tomorrow to find out who will be crowned world champions. New Zealand 24 Tonga 7 New Zealand's match against Tonga was the last match on the second day here in Dubai. Chad Tuoro opened New Zealand's account taking a looping pass to edge inside Vaea T Poteki with 1 min 48 secs left of the opening period. Shortly before the break Lote Raikabula raced past three Tonga defenders to extend the Kiwis' lead to 14-0. The lead became 19 when Tomasi Cama touched down after Zar Lawrence's quick tap after Viliame Waqaseduadua had been unfairly stopped in his stride. Raikabula crossed the line for a second time as he forced his way through the Tongan defence as tempers frayed. New Zealand were in total control and Tonga's try came as something of a surprise. Sosaia Palei broke down the right touchline and jumped theatrically at speed to evade a tap-tackle before passing inside for Sione Fonua to score a try that was converted on the whistle. England 26 Kenya 7 Kenya's fans were certainly making themselves heard during the Australia-Samoa match and they were obviously expecting a good show against the English. Kevin Barrett put the English 5-0 ahead before a successful conversion put them 7-0 up. Kenya responded strongly and Humphrey Kayange powered over the line after a couple of near misses for the Africans. England were soon ahead again with the pacey Tom Varndell breaking a weak tackle to sprint for his fifth try of the tournament so far. There were high-fives all round for England's Isoa Damu after he touched down under the posts after an arcing run at pace, making the score 19-7. After gliding past the defence for his first try Damu wriggles past four Kenyan defenders to score his second. A confident performance by England although they were able to take advantage of some lacklustre Kenyan defence. Australia 19 Samoa 0 In an clash of Oceanic nations Australia took on Samoa. It was Uale Mai with a short kick and chase that gave the smaller-sized nation the lead avoiding the attention of Damon Murphy. That was how it stayed until half-time. After the break Lolo Lui raced through on the blindside and his clever kick was touched down by Ofisa Treviranus. Australia got the chance they needed to get back into the match when Alatasi Tupou was sinbinned but despite several phases in the Fijian 22, some poor decision-making by Luke Morahan cutting inside when the outside was open helped Fiji stand firm. Australia still looked certain to score though until they were penalised for coming in over the top. Morgan Salesa added a final score. France 5 Fiji 38 In the battle of the two undefeated teams in Pool B Fiji drew first blood with Napolioni Nalaga putting them 5-0 ahead against France. Two more tries, one a penalty, extended the lead with the French lacking the pace and the guile to trouble the Fijians. In the second half a dreadful kick by Dulin gifted Nalaga his second try to the obvious fury of the French coach Thierry Janeczek. The vocal Fijians, who definitely win the award for most enthusiastic flag wavers, were then in good voice again after France had a try chalked off for a knock-on. Laurent Ferreres did touch down to add to his hat-trick earlier today but the rampaging Fijians scored twice more including Jone Daunivucu taking his points haul in the match to 11 as they cantered to victory. This was not so much laying down the gauntlet to their rivals as slapping them round the face with a leather glove. South Africa 19 Scotland 14 The ice cream sellers are still doing a roaring trade at The Sevens. There are a lot of pink faces around too, after a warm, sunny day that has been fantastic for rugby. South Africa took the lead against Scotland when Philip Snyman passed for Paul Delport to score. Scotland's Andrew Turnbull was handed the ball on the run near the left touchline and cut inside past two defenders to even up the score. Scottish joy was short-lived though as Renfred Dazel put South Africa back in front almost straight from the restart, sprinting through for his second try of the day. A scrappy start to the second half saw neither side able to put any phases together although Turnbull was called into action to stop a rampaging Ryno Benjamin. There was delight for Scotland when Roddy Grant brushed past Mpho Mbiyozo on the outside after an impressive release from the talented Turnbull to put them in front. It looked like the Scots had done enough but despite stopping two attackers in their own 22, they could not stop the third, Mpho Mbiyozo, who touched down in the corner and gave South Africa a hard-fought victory at the death. South Africa advance and join Argentina in the quarter-finals. Argentina 14 Wales 0 In an evenly-contested first half the Argentinians led by seven points against Wales at the break. With the sun setting the DJ played Delilah by Tom Jones before evening it up with a catchy tune in Spanish that had the sky-blue-and-white clad fans showing a swaying rhythm the Welsh could not match. The Welsh fans tried to rally their team with cries of "Wales, Wales" while thrusting their inflatable leeks and daffodils towards the sky but it was the South Americans that took the next points. Wales gave away two quick penalties and Horacio San Martin showed an impressive turn of speed to break through the Wales line. A despairing tackle saw him tumble just before the line but his momentum carried him over. That proved to be the final score of the game and Argentina win the battle of Pool F's two undefeated sides. United States 33 Georgia 5 The United States' Kevin Swiryn led his team's charge with a solo try while Takudzwae Ngwenya and Chris Wyles also scored to give the Americans a comfortable 19-0 lead at half-time against Georgia. The Georgians did not give up but found America's defence too strong and the Eagles turned defence into attack quickly with a counterattacking try and Matthew Hawkins touched down soon after. Giorgi Shkinin scored a deserved late try but the Georgian touched down unsmiling. Arabian Gulf 17 Italy 19 The Omani Taif Al Delamie opened the scoring for the Arabian Gulf in their must-win game against Italy. Some inventive play from the Gulf had Italy on the back foot but they were able to clear. Then a scrappy attack from the Italians saw the Gulf caught flatfooted down the left touchline and Marco Stanojevic was able to gallop in unchallenged for the equalising score. At 5-5, the Arabian Gulf's defence was again caught short as from what looked like a position of little danger Stanojevic carved through the Gulf line and passed for Roberto Mariani to score. Seven points behind at half-time the Gulf needed to start the second half brightly. They did. Steve Cooper burst through the Italian defence and while he was floored by a tap-tackle just in front of the line he released the ball to Marcus Smith. Smith touched down and then converted to equalise. The Gulf then put a wonderful passage of play together passing back and forth across the pitch quickly with Smith at the heart and the Italians were chasing shadows. The Gulf attacked down the left-hand side and Jonny MacDonald released the ball behind him brilliantly as he was being driven out of bounds and the replacement Chris Gregory picked up and scored. Yet the Gulf's defence was again at fault when three men were left at the breakdown and when the ball was moved the Italians had men over and Kristopher Shaun Burton dived in for the try. The conversion was the last kick of the game and signalled the end of the Arabian Gulf's tournament. Tunisia 17 Hong Kong 14 Tunisia and Hong Kong played out an entertaining encounter on Pitch One. Hong Kong opened the scoring through Keith Robertson before Tunisia were reduced to six men. Hong Kong took advantage through Kenzo Pannell to open up a 14-point lead at the turnaround. Tunisia, so impressive in defeat against England, battled back with two tries from the fleet-footed Amor Mezgar. Hong Kong were still leading 14-12 until, with just 24 seconds left, Khaled Zegden touched down to the delight of the small but vocal Tunisian fans in the Emirates stand. Canada 22 Japan 12 Canada overcame a spirited Japanese side 22-12 out on pitch two led by the 15-point haul of Dth van der Merwe. A try from Michael Leitch had pegged the Canadians back to 10-7 at the break. Van der Merwe's third try of the match and a score from James Pritchard took the game away from Japan, who scored with a minute left through Alisi Tupuailei. Zimbabwe 28 Uruguay 24 Gerald Sibanda, who scored Zimbabwe's only try against Argentina, gave his side the first half initiative with two tries that gave the Africans a 21-5 lead at half-time against Uruguay. A huge kick from inside their own 22 saw a real chase on and Wensley Mbanje outpaced the defence to score. He looked exhausted after that and I'm not surprised after sprinting the entire length of the field. The Uruguayans had a mountain to climb but their fans were cheering again after Francisco Bulanti and Ignacio Conti touched down. The latter's try involved a crunching hand-off of Mbanje. A minute later Nicolas Morales hurdled two challenges to score before the final whistle blew. To say the Zimbabweans almost let it slip is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration with the lead they had but they certainly were not convincing and their reaction at the end of the match was quite muted. France 33 Georgia 0 France, the surprise winners of day one with victory over the United States, made easy work of Georgia. Laurent Ferreres was their star man with a hat-trick of tries and a total of 17 points. The French dominated from start to finish restricting the Georgians from any dangerous attack. The undefeated French take on the fancied Fijians in the battle of unbeaten Pool B teams at 1820 (UAE). Australia 21 Ireland 24 Despite both being powerhouses of the the XV man game, neither Australia nor Ireland have a great deal of sevens pedigree. They are certainly two of the best supported teams here in Dubai though and for that reason alone it is one of the highlights of today's action. A powerful run by Felix Jones opened the scoring early on for Ireland. A piece of quick-thinking from Paul Marshall saw Australia caught out on the blindside. Marshall's kick was good and he narrowly won the race ahead of Richard Kingi. Ireland were on top and it all seemed a bit too easy when Munster's former rugby league player Brian Carney exchanged passes with Brian Tuohy to touch down in the corner. The Irish were 17-0 up with over 2 mins 30 secs left in the first half. However, the next score was Australia's with a Henry Vanderglas try and in the second half a stunning move from behind their own try-line saw good work from Damon Murphy feed Luke Morahan (Irish names, I know, but Australia jerseys) who stampeded down the left touchline to score. The tricky extra points were converted and there was a real game on. The momentum looked to have shifted decisively when Australia took the lead when Murphy's change of pace took him past a flat-footed Kyle Tonetti to give the Antipodeans a 21-17 lead. What a turnaround, and there looked like only one winner. Ireland had a narrow escape as Australia knocked on. With a minute and a half remaining and Australia in possession I expected the Aussies to close out the game. How wrong I was. There was a moment of madness from Henry Vanderglas as he steamed in over the top and gave the Irish possession. One last roll of the dice for the Irish and it came up with double sixes as a sweeping move saw Gary Brown touch down, and sparked pandemonium on the Irish bench. The best game of the tournament today. Scotland 31 Japan 10 There were saltires flying and bagpipes playing The Lion sleeps tonight (honestly) as Scotland ran out comfortable winners against Japan in the sunshine. Andrew Turnbull, Roddy Grant and Colin Gregor scored first-half tries with Alisi Tupuailei touching down for the Japanese. Gregor's second-half kick and chase the pick of the Scots' scoring. Takashi Suzuki ended a scrap period of play with the final try of the match. Wales 27 Uruguay 0 Ill-discipline and poor decision-making were the key factors in Uruguay's 27-0 defeat to Wales. The Welsh, who looked a much slicker outfit than the undeniably gutsy South Americans, opened up an early lead and never looked back, scoring three first-half tries. In the second half, the curly-haired Richie Pugh touched down for a second time after the Welsh spread the play to take advantage of a defence one man down because of a sinbin. When the Welsh themselves went down to six men because of a high tackle by Rhys Webb, Uruguay blew the chance to score. Lee Beach then set up James Merriman to touch down in front of the posts. Tonga 31 Italy 10 Ualosi Kailea's try was the pick of three first-half scores for the Tongans as they took control of their match against Italy. The second half opened with a try from Michele Sepe, Italy's first points of the tournament after being held pointless by the Kiwis on the opening day. The diminutive Steven Bortolussi made some impressive running that had the Tongans briefly on the back foot. But despite some exaggerated footwork from the Italians, more reminiscent of Strictly Come Dancing than rugby, they failed to break through the Tongan lines and gave up the ball. The Tongans then scored through Mateo Maluopo and Siaosi Tuatao. Sepe galloped to the line and outpaced Ualosi Kailea on the outside to dive in for a score at the death. Kenya 43 Hong Kong 7 In front of possibly the largest contingent of supporters at The Sevens, Kenya were easy victors over Hong Kong on pitch two. Their fans, a sea of red near the halfway line, saw them run in seven tries to one, after Hong Kong had taken a seven point lead through Rowan Varty. Lavin Asego, who also posted four conversions, and Gibson Weru Kahuthia scored two tries each as the Kenyans ran riot in the second half with 26 unanswered points. Fiji 26 United States 12 Fans of the favourites Fiji (trying say that ten times quickly) are out in force and a sizeable group have an impressive set of blue rinse afros and bright orange tropically-patterned shirts. The Americans' sevens kit is almost equally garish with a mix of pink, purple and dark blue shirts to go with the understated white shorts. The Americans started well but Peni Rokodiva wrestled his way clear to touch down and lay down a marker for the Fijians. Fiji, who enjoyed a comfortable 26-10 victory over Georgia yesterday, moved further ahead when Vilimoni Delasau released the ball quickly as he was taken to the ground and Vereniki Goneva went over to make it 14-0. With seconds left before the break good handling by the Americans set up Kevin Swiryn, who fought off the challenge of Pio Tuwai to reach the line. The Americans were putting up a spirited fight and the next score was crucial. Sadly for them it was the giant Naplioni Nalaga who brushed off three challenges to score the try and at 21-7, and Fiji largely remaining in second gear, it looked like the Pacific Islanders would see it out for the win. The Americans , however, were not giving up and with 1min 40secs remaining Jone Naqica made it 21-14. Despite some battling defence, including a wonderful tap-tackle by Naqica, Seremaia Borotu went in to put the game beyond doubt. Argentina 40 Zimbabwe 5 Argentina got off to a flying start in their Pool F clash against Zimbabwe when Pablo Gomez Cora raced in to score after the South Americans won the ball from their own kick-off. Zimbabwe then found their feet but failed to turn possession into points. Argentina made them pay when Horacio San Martin and Martin Bustos Moyano extended the lead to take it to 21-0 at half-time. Tangai Nemandier broke but lacked the pace to take it over the line and Argentina's defenders turned the ball over. Martin Bustos Moyano evaded the despairing tackle of Gerald Sibanda to make it 19-0 seconds before half-time. Try scorers combined when a speedy break by Bustos Moyano sent San Martin to the posts before San Martin returned the favour. Sibanda put Zimbabwe on the scoreboard but Argentina scored again through Martin Rodriguez. South Africa 15 Canada 7 Both teams had started with wins yesterday but something had to give in the second match of the day of the men's tournament on the main pitch. After a cagey opening Ryno Benjamin open the scoring with the first try of his Rugby World Cup Sevens career before Mpho Mbiyozo extended the South African lead. Dth van der Merwe ambitiously tried to get away from Vuyo Zangqa well inside his own half and he was immediately taken to the floor but the half-time whistle spared the Canadian's blushes. It was 10-0 at the break. Phillip Mack broke the South African line but his pass to the onrunning Neil Meechan was poor and Canada's best chance of a score had gone begging. However Meechan was not to be denied and he bulldozed his way through the attention of Zangqa for a determined try. The drop-kick conversion made it 10-7. Canada looked to have gone ahead with two minutes left when Ciaran Hearn passed to James Pritchard to touch down but the try was ruled out for a knock-on. The South Africans cleared their lines and a skilful kick and chase by Renfred Dazel made the game safe. Samoa 20 Portugal 5 Samoa eased to victory over Portugal. Lolo Lui, Rupena Levasa and Alatasi Tupou all touched down in a dominant first half. Shortly after the break, and 15-0 ahead, Samoa looked confident. A quick Portugal break from Pedro Leal came to a crunching end at the hands of Uale Mai before Lui broke for the first score of the half, and his second of the game. Portugal had not been lacking pluck but were lacking in invention. It was no more than they deserved then when a move to the left wing gave Goncalo Foro the ball with a bit to do. The Portuguese broke the last tackle and he touched down for their first score of the game. England 26 Tunisia 24 Tom Varndell opened the scoring for England before Chris Cracknell broke through two tackles to score under the posts. As expected England were dominating and Varndell added another but the Tunisians scored a try of their own through Sabeur Ben Charrada. Abess Kherfani had broken down the right wing but it all stemmed from strong ball carrying by Sabri Guemir. The converted kick made it 19-7 at half-time. Varndell, England's star of the show, then picked up the ball on the left wing and left the defence for dead to touch down under the posts. The Tunisians were no doubt relieved to see him replaced and it certainly seemed to boost the Tunisians who broke through English lines and a wonderful one-handed pass by Charrada gave Kherfani a short ride to the line. The north Africans then turned over English possession only to knock on just outside their 22. But England gave away a penalty in return and the Tunisians turned the position into points when a flowing move from the left set Amor Mezgar free to dive into the right corner. England's errors were costing them and Charrada flamboyantly dived under the posts to take them to within two points of England. But that was the final score of the game. A wonderful performance by the underdogs and England have much work to do. England take the points, Tunisia take the credit. *********************************************************** As always here in Dubai, it's a colourful spectacle with supporters in the national jerseys, brightly-coloured afro wigs, flags and hats. This warm and windy day's action for the men kicks off on pitch two and there is a vocal contingent of New Zealand fans in their all-black outfits ahead of the opener. England and Tunisia will follow. New Zealand 41 Arabian Gulf 5 The Kiwi flyer Viliame Waqaseduadua scored from 50 metres to open the scoring but the Arabian Gulf did not buckle and put the New Zealanders under a spell of sustained pressure. It was no more than they deserved when Joshua Sherrin did well to hand off to Stuart Gibb and he touched down for the home side's first points of the tournament. It was downhill from there for the Gulf, however, as the Kiwis broke from their 22 and Ben Souness skipped two tackles to make it 12-5 at the break. The Gulf were still in touch but the New Zealanders were out of the blocks quickly and Waqaseduadua jinked past Jonny MacDonald to score before Waqaseduadua again touched down after a pass from Nigel Hunt. A clever reverse pass from that man Waqaseduadua put Tim Nanai Williams in for the try before Lote Raikabula broke the Gulf line before passing to Zar Lawrence to score. Sherrin then gave away possession but poor handling from the Kiwis gave the Gulf a let-off but shortly afterwards Julian Savea ending the scoring after the Gulf failed to successfully clear their lines. ********************************************************** Welcome to day two of the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens from Dubai. The day kicks off at 11am with the eagerly awaited clash between Arabian Gulf and the mighty New Zealand. The Gulf failed to score in their defeat to Tonga yesterday and will be looking to put up a good show for the local fans today. The Gulf play their final pool match, against Italy, at 4.30pm. And The National will be here at the fantastic Sevens stadium right up until the final match of the day that starts at 7.28pm when New Zealand again feature, this time against the Tongans. There's a lot of standout sevens rugby to be played in between so stay with us. To find out how day one unfolded click here