Sun, Mar 17, 2002 - Page 16 News List

Emphatic Fijians roll over Taiwan in 7s tournament

STAFF WRITER , WITH AP, BEIJING

Fiji's Waisele Sepevi, left, is tackled by Taiwan's Chang Ching-fong during their match at the International Rugby Board World Sevens tournament in Beijing yesterday. Fiji won 40-5.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Taiwan was unable to stop Rugby Sevens powerhouse Fiji from steamrollering them into submission 40-5 yesterday, at the International Rugby Board's Beijing Sevens in China.

Taiwan was unable to hold back the Pacific Islanders, who are fancied to do well in the tournament.

Meanwhile, traditional rugby powers from the southern hemisphere rolled over the opposition during early play on the first day of competition.

Australia clobbered France 43-4, notching up seven tries and four conversions in a game of near continuous scoring by the Aussies.

New Zealand, another favorite, found success twice during the morning's games, first beating South Korea 26-19, then blanking Japan 19-0. Japan also fell to Argentina, 47-17.

South Africa beat the US 33-5 and Samoa defeated Canada 28-12.

Turnout was lower than expected for the Beijing debut of sevens rugby, considered a tune-up for one of the sport's key competitions in Hong Kong later this month.

Organizers claimed to have sold 2,000 tickets, but only a few hundred fans were on hand at Beijing's National Olympic Sports Center as one of Beijing's notorious springtime dust storms blew grit over the field.

In other play, England hammered a Hong Kong side notably lacking in speed and passing coordination 43-0, and Wales defeated China 29-14.

The hosts face South Africa and the US later in the day.

The 16 teams will play three times to advance to the final round today.

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