Sun, Apr 01, 2007 - Page 24 News List

New Zealand looking good in HK

AFP , HONG KONG

Cheerleaders wearing Brazilian carnival costumes entertain the crowd during the Cathay Pacific Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament in Hong Kong yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

New Zealand led the charge early on day two of the Hong Kong Sevens yesterday as the major contenders all progressed smoothly toward the final stages.

New Zealand crushed Russia 54-0, with Tomasi Cama collecting 22 points through two tries and six conversions.

Russia had no answers to the onslaught, but other minor teams were putting up more opposition as the pool games continued.

England, seeking to extend their record four successive titles into a fifth, came through 38-14 against a progressive South Korean side.

In perhaps the best play of the day, England captain Simon Amor casually launched a huge kick that speedster Charlie Amesbury chased down with centimeters to spare.

Amesbury completed his hat-trick moments later as the half-time whistle blew, and scored another after the break to record four tries in eight minutes.

"In Sevens you can score so quick, and that was what we did today," Amesbury said.

Tournament favorites Fiji stuttered against Portugal with the score 7-7 at half-time of the 14-minute game.

But they came through 28-7 at the final whistle, helped by two tries from Lepani Nabuliwaqa.

"Portugal kept the ball well, and we didn't. We expect hard games in the pool matches. We are looking good for tomorrow," said Fiji veteran Waisale Serevi.

In two upsets, China beat Canada 21-19 and Tunisia overcame France 21-12.

South Africa had a serious work-out against Tonga but won 31-12 after three tries from playmaker Stefan Basson.

"It is always good to have a good contest. Yesterday was too easy against Taiwan," said South Africa coach Paul Treu.

"Tonga play a very physical game and are a difficult team to beat. Now we will chill before the Wales game later. This is a three-day tournament and it is important to remember to relax," he said.

In earlier pool matches, minnows Sri Lanka showed some pluck against Scotland, scoring three tries before going down 53-21.

Wales, beaten by Tonga on Friday, overwhelmed Taiwan 61-0.

The US, who overturned France on the opening day, nearly followed up on that success in a brave performance against Australia, but they lost 15-14 after a last-minute try by Josh Holmes.

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