Las Vegas Sevens kicked off in great style in Sin City where the winner from the Oceania Leg New Zealand continued their impressive form in their opening match whipping the Portuguese 42 -7 while the Samoans humbled the defending champions Fiji, Bryan Habana and Quade Cooper eased their way in and the Scots thrash the Poms.
Las Vegas Sevens: Day One Action
The tournament runs for three days with teams playing two games each day, the same format which they will use at the Rio Olympics in August. With the extension of the width of the park it was evident that teams were in for a tough challenge and the crowd were treated with some breathtaking offloads and spectacular tries which will only get better as the tournament progresses.
Here is a quick run through of Day One results:
Pool A (New Zealand, Kenya, Portugal, Russia)
The Kiwis finished Day One with two big wins and look very impressive in their two outings, which is a good sign for them moving forward as they continue to build towards Rio. Missing the final selection for the Las Vegas Sevens were Sonny Bill Williams and Sherwin Stowers as Head Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens wanted to rest Williams after his successful transition in his Oceania leg debut.
The Kenyans were outstanding in their opening games too and their showdown with the Kiwis in their final pool play on Day two will give us an insight into how far they will go in this tournament. The Russians were good against the Kenyans but couldn’t keep up with the boys from Aotearoa, the Portuguese on the other hand have to dig deep and come firing in day two for a good finish in this tournament.
Pool A Results:
New Zealand 42 Portugal 7, Kenya 24 Russia 21, New Zealand 38 Russia 0, Kenya 38 Portugal 0
Pool B (Australia, England, Scotland, Japan)
Australia are the red hot favorites from this pool and Quade Cooper had a great debut marshaling his young troops and was happy being the distributor when he came on as a replacement, but will be vital come play-off time.
The English with three of their stars making a return looked lost and agitated. They only were able to get a draw at the death with Japan and were beaten convincingly by the Scots 24-14, who were earlier thrashed by the Australians 26-0.
The Aussies have booked their spot but it still wide open for England, Scotland and Japan to make it through. Can the Poms turn it around?
Pool B Results:
Australia 26 Scotland 0, England 19 Japan 19, Australia 35 Japan 5, England 14 Scotland 24
Pool C (Fiji, Argentina, Samoa, France)
Fiji were humbled by the Samoans in their first game, a result that was a surprise to everyone knowing the lukewarm season that the Samoans are having. Even with illness running through their team, underestimating their opponents and giving away possession carelessly won’t help the Fijians cause this weekend at the Las Vegas Sevens.
The Fijians want to bring back smiles to it’s people after the aftermath of Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston, but the way they played earlier today left plenty people questioning their attitude and commitment but they came through firing in the second game walloping France 42-12 but plenty work to be done. Wearing black arm bands to remember the victims of the disaster, the Fijians need to step up big time come tomorrow.
The Samoans have to win big against France and hope the Los Pumas upset Fiji for them to play in the Cup Quarter final, their loss to Argentina has made it difficult for them but as they say “anything can happen.”
Pool C Results:
Fiji 24 Samoa 28, Argentina 26 France 7, Fiji 42 France 12, Argentina 25 Samoa 12
Pool D (South Africa, USA, Wales, Canada)
Bryan Habana had a dream return to the World Sevens Series coming in as a replacement against Canada and a chip kick behind the Canadians defense by Cecil Africa was well picked up by Habana and he ran untouched under the posts for his try.
The Blitzboks look very impressive and are in line for a big finish this weekend, their battle with the hosts on day two will be very vital for their progress in the tournament. The Welsh have an outstanding chance, but will depend on other results going their way.
Pool D Results:
South Africa 33 Canada 7, USA 19 Wales 12, South Africa 36 Wales 7, USA 26 Canada 26
Day two of the Las Vegas Sevens will be a make or break day for the top three sides of the World Sevens Series and will be vital in how teams finish come the end of day three. Will we see one of the Big guns continue their form or will a underdog grab a big scalp tomorrow?
Follow all the results from the Las Vegas Sevens here on Last Word on Sports.