NZ, Australia, Fiji through safely at World Cup Sevens

September 9, 2022 GMT

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Defending champion New Zealand and world series winner Australia went through safely to the quarterfinals on the opening day of the Rugby World Cup Sevens on Friday.

Fiji and host South Africa, the other big hitters, also had little trouble in making the last eight as the tournament opened with straight knockout games at Cape Town Stadium.

New Zealand blew away Scotland 43-5 to start its pursuit of a third straight World Cup title and outscored the Scots seven tries to one. Amanaki Nicole and Akuila Rokolisoa ran in two tries each.

Australia was a 35-0 winner over Uruguay two weeks after it won its first world series title at the last event in Los Angeles.

Fiji, which like New Zealand missed parts of the world series because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, comfortably beat Wales 29-5 at the World Cup.

Host South Africa brought the first day’s action to a close by cruising past Chile 32-5 in the round of 16.

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Argentina knocked off Kenya 22-7, but England and the United States are out. England lost 17-5 to Ireland and the U.S. went down 40-12 to Samoa. France beat Canada 19-12.

That success for Samoa set up a Pacific Island clash against Fiji in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The other quarterfinal matchups are New Zealand vs. Argentina, France vs. Australia and Ireland vs. South Africa.

Leading contenders New Zealand and Australia came through strongly in the women’s competition, with New Zealand beating Colombia 47-5 and the Aussies trouncing Madagascar 48-0 helped by five tries by Faith Nathan.

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