IRB Sevens World Series: Day One Results From Wellington
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It's day one of the Hertz Sevens tournament in Wellington, New Zealand—the fourth stop on the IRB Sevens World Series.
The home side, under head coach Gordon Tietjens, are the defending champions in Wellington, and return to New Zealand as leaders in the 2012/13 World Series standings. Their day, however, got off to a rough start.
In fact, the early action would bring a flurry of unexpected upsets.
As the action heated on Friday in Wellington, the crucial cup quarter-final match-ups began to take shape.
Here, we will bring you updated results and breakdown each of the tournament's four pools and what the first day's results will mean.
Teams: England, New Zealand, U.S.A., Spain
England, a squad that has vastly under-performed in this year's World Series, opened their Pool A campaign by shocking the New Zealand crowd and downing the All Blacks on their home turf.
The 19-14 win by England may end up having little effect on the pool's final standings, but New Zealand had been sent a message that their title is under threat.
Spain battled their way past the U.S.A. by a score of 10-5 in the pool's other opening match.
The Americans went on to cause a stir in the pool by pulling off a 12-12 draw against the English, but in the end all went as expected.
England top the pool with two wins and a draw, while New Zealand finish second with a record of 2 - 1.
Teams: Kenya, Argentina, Tonga, France
The tournament's first match the day began with a fairly significant upset as well, with the sixth-placed Kenyans knocking off the second-ranked French by a score of 24-12.
France will have to show vast improvement, as only victories in their final two pool matches can now assure their progression to the Cup competition.
Argentina defeated Tonga 21-12 in their first match of the day to join Kenya atop Pool B.
From there the trend continued. France failed to qualify for the Cup competition and will play for the Bowl on day two. Kenya sailed through Pool B with a perfect record, while Argentina claim the other Cup quarter-final berth.
Teams: Samoa, South Africa, Wales, Canada
The South Africans were still favourites to advance to the Cup quarter-finals, but will need to finish their day with two straight wins to do so.
That was not how things played out.
Canada pulled off a shock 26-15 win over South Africa—a result that would eventually see a three-way tie for second-place.
In the end, Samoa finished with a perfect record and the nervous South Africans advanced on points differential, leaving Wales and the frustrated Canadians to play for the Bowl.
Australia, Portugal, Scotland, Fiji
The next major upset of the tournament came from Pool D, where Scotland stunned Westpac Stadium, which will full of local Fijian support.
The Scots pulled off the shock 14-12 win over Fiji with their star Andrew Turnbull claiming the winning score in the second-half.
Australia defeated a tough Portugal side to claim their first three points; leaving the Portuguese and Fiji to search for their first wins later on in the day.
When the dust settled, Fiji could not fight their way back.
Australia, a team that had struggled in previous tournaments finished day one 3-0, while the surprising Scots claimed the last Cup qualification berth.
Day Two Match-Ups:
South Africa vs. Kenya
New Zealand vs. Australia
Argentina vs. Samoa
England vs. Scotland
Wales vs. France
Fiji vs. U.S.A.
Canada vs. Tonga
Spain vs. Portugal
Look for the write-up of day two action from the Wellington Sevens, right here, on Bleacher Report.
Jeff Hull is a contributor to Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @RugbyScribe
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