2018 Sydney 7s Day one: As it happened

Womens - Sydney
by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

Hello and welcome to RUGBY.com.au's LIVE coverage of the Sydney Sevens.

Fans are filling Allianz Stadium as the teams prepare for the opening day of action, which will kick off at 10am AEDT.

You can watch all the action LIVE on FOX SPORTS but we will be keep you posted with updates, highlights, reaction and analysis on this page throughout the day.

For a full list of fixtures, click here.

8:55pm - That's all, folks...for today

It's been a big day of Sevens, but this is just the beginning. Saturday brings Cup quarter-finals and semi-finals, and the remainder of the men's pool matches on the biggest day of the three.

Japan beating England is out pick for the biggest shock of the day, but the Aussie men toppling the USA was a nice way to cap off the opening day of their home tournament.

Two days to go, and we'll have you covered with every match.

851pm - Men's Pool D - Canada 5 - Scotland 52

Scotland are the final victors on the opening day of the Sydney 7s, beating out Canada, 47-5.

The Scots burst out of the blocks, shooting out to a 21-5 half-time lead, and their momentum only heightened after the break, piling on the tries.

A Max McFarland hat-trick led the way for the Scots, while a Canada yellow card did their chances no favours when they were already under the pump.

Tries for Jamie Farndale, Gavin Lowe and Glenn Bryce contributed to the blowout, before Alec Coombes sealed the victory to end day one.

8:31pm - Men's Pool D - Australia 26 - USA 19


Australia's men's Sevens have edged out the USA in their opening match of the Sydney 7s, 26-19.

The Aussie men have performed beyond expectation in every Sydney World Series leg and they looked a force to be reckoned with again on Friday night.

The night started perfectly for the Australians, with Lachie Anderson breaking the line and handing off to Boyd Killingworth to finish off in the third minute.

Rookie Ben O'Donnell made it two for the Aussies not long after, slipping cleverly through defence, before John Porch showed his pace, streaking away from the American defenders to make it 19-0.

The challenge for the men is to take their momentum through to day two, where they will face Scotland and Canada in a bid for a quarter-final spot.

Super speedster Perry Baker left the Aussies in his wake to hit back in the second half and Martin Iosefo took advantage of a defensive miscommunication to narrow the margin to just five.

A valiant chase from Lewis Holland wasn't enough to stop Ben Pinkelman from levelling the scores in the 11th minute, but Tim Anstee put the Aussies back in the box seat, with a blistering 75-metre run.

When Carlin Isles, the only man possibly faster than Baker in the USA side, found the ball after the final whistle, panic could have ensued, but the Aussies' defence stifled the sprinter and they held on for a surprise win.

Australia's next pool match is against Canada on Saturday at 5:15pm AEDT.

Take a look at all the day one action in our blog.

8:05pm - Men's Pool A - New Zealand 54 - Russia 0

New Zealand won the Cape Town tournament and they've picked up where they left off on arrival in Sydney.

Holding a 33-0 lead at half-time, the Kiwis romped home in the second half over Russia, breaking the 50-point barrier and putting themselves well on top of the pack early.

The Aussies are up next. Can they start their Sydney tournament on a high?

8pm - Aussie men have arrived

The Aussie men will be in action in 12 minutes, against the USA, and they're well and truly in the building.

Both Aussie teams wearing blue laces or ribbons today to pay tribute to Dolly Everett.

7:55pm - Women's Quarter-finals

We've done the calculations (they weren't easy) and here's the schedule for the women's cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

9:44am AEDT - Australia vs Spain

10:06am -AEDT - USA vs Russia 

10;28am AEDT - New Zealand vs Ireland

10:50am AEDT - Canada vs France

It was a big day for the Aussie women, who went through undefeated and didn't concede a point the entire day.

While we're on the mathematical train, the Aussie women have scored 20 tries today, equating to $10,000 in Australian Rugby Foundation donations to charity.

Ellia Green spoke after her first day on the World Series in nine months, coming back from a knee injury.


Tim Walsh also gave his thoughts after a positive day.


 

7:50pm Men's Pool A - Fiji 31 Samoa 5

Fiji have delivered on their hype in their Sydney opener, cruising to a win over Kenya.

Tries to Amenoni Nasilasila, Meulame Kunavula, Josua Vakurunabili, Eroni Sau and Alosio Sovita Naduva all contributed to the victory.

Gordon Langklide was the sole Samoan scorer, in a game where they were outclassed by their fellow Pacific Islanders.

7:20pm - Men's Pool B Argentina 7 - Kenya 5

Kenya played out a tight finish against Argentina. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyArgentina held on in a gritty effort against Kenya, in one of the tightest matches of the afternoon.

Gaston Revol opened the scoring for Argentina, converting his own try, a score that ultimately proved the difference between the two teams.

Andrew Amonde replied for Kenya, but the missed conversion left them two points short.

7pm - Men's Pool B - France 31 - Wales 12

France struck two early blows, captain Manoel Dall Igna scoring a particularly eye-catching team try.

They had their third soon after and ended up taking a 24 point lead into the break.

Wales fought back to score a pair of tries in the second term but the result was already beyond doubt.

6:40pm - Men's Pool C - South Africa 50 Papua New Guinea 0

Can the Blitzboks go back-to-back? Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe defending champs played like defending champs in the first half, putting three tries on the Papua New Guineans in quick succession.

The Blitzboks backed their first half up with a dominant second term, including a first World Series try for rookie Stedman Gans.

Rosko Specman was the star of the show, scoring a hat trick with relative ease.

Remarkably, the Blitzboks entered Kenya's 22 eight times for eight tries.

An early flex of muscle from the undisputed team to beat.

6:20pm - Men's Pool C - England 22 Spain 10

Their women may have disappointed but England are off to a hot start in the Men's fixtures, cruising to victory against Spain.

England were highly favoured heading into this one and they were never really troubled by a Spanish side that put up a fight without ever looking particularly threatening.

5:40pm - Women's Pool A - Australia 43 France 0


Australia are yet to concede a point at the Sydney Sevens, flogging France to go top of Pool A.

Emilee Cherry hadn't tasted game time so far today but she turned her first touch into gold, scoring a long range effort inside the first minute.

It was a Cherry offload that set up Australia's second, Alicia Quirk the beneficiary of her slick hands.It was Charlotte Caslick's turn next, slicing the line in similar fashion to her try in the second match - throwing a dummy and showing quick feet to beat the French defence.

Ellia Green then scored as the final siren sounded, opening up a big 24-0 lead at the break.

Green added a second and third in the second term, with Cherry also nabbing a brace as the Australians ran in tries at will.

5:20pm - NZ flying on day one

We had a chat to Portia Woodman after she scored 10 tries on day one.


Black Ferns assistant coach Cory Sweeney was very impressed with his team's return to the field after a disappointing stint in Dubai.

"Yeah, we are really happy, coming off Dubai was a little disappointing so it was important for us today, day one we had a few learnings today and we're really happy with the girls - they performed really well," he said.

"Our focus today was to be accurate and decisive and really connect as a team and we absolutely did that in the three games.

"We were really happy with the results but its day one and we know too well that there’s another couple of days to reset."

5:15pm - Women's Pool A - Spain 29 PNG 0

PNG haven't had anything to smile about in Sydney. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleySpain have continued PNG's painful tournament, cruising to a comfortable win.

PNG are yet to score a point through three starts in the tournament, leaving them smack bang on the bottom of Pool A.

They have conceded 129 points in their three starts without troubling the scorers.

4:55pm - Women's Pool B - Japan 17 England 10

It took until the third last match of day one but we have finally seen a major upset, Japan winning a thriller against England.

The Japanese had only scored one try prior to their third clash but they stunned England with their speed and silky skills.Heather Fisher and England have bombed out of Cup quarter finals. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThey shot out to a 17-5 lead before England crossed with two to play, putting a grandstand finish on the cards.

England repeatedly pressed the Japanese line but they weren't able to level the scores, leaving them with just a solitary win on day one.

As a result of the loss England will miss out on a quarter final berth pending other results, with New Zealand to progress to the quarter finals undefeated alongside USA.

4:30pm - Women's Pool B - New Zealand 24 USA 0

New Zealand are flying on day one. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyPortia Woodman has been one of, if not the star, of day one and New Zealand's clash with USA was no different.

The US shocked the Kiwis in the quarter final in Dubai but there was no last gasp win today.

Woodman scored the only two tries of the first term and made it three hat tricks from three games in the second half, taking her tally for the tournament to 10 - double that of the next best on day one.

New Zealand well and truly atoned for their defeat to the Americans in Dubai, cruising to a big win to remain undefeated on day one.

4:10pm - Women's Pool C - Ireland 7 Fiji 7

Ireland have escaped day one with a win. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIreland have escaped day one with a win next to their name.

It was a last gasp try that gave them the win, with both teams trading blows throughout match.

The win leaves Fiji on the bottom of Pool C, with Ireland finishing third behind Canada and Russia.

3:50pm - Women's Pool C - Canada 19 Russia 5

Canada have emerged from Pool C undefeated, beating Russia in a battle of the two top sides in the group.


Points were hard to come by but Canada had their noses in front for the majority of the match, scoring a late try to keep their record clean through three starts.

Both teams will progress to the Cup quarter finals, with Ireland and Fiji yet to record a win.

3:10pm - Aussies pleased with picture perfect defence

The Australians have put up 79 points in their first two starts but it's the points against column they are most pleased with.

Here are the highlights from the 50 point thrashing of PNG.


2:55pm - Women's Pool A - Australia 50 PNG 0

Charlotte Caslick opened the Australian account and went from scorer to playmaker soon after, throwing the final pass for Cassie Staples' first try of the day after a perfect draw and pass from Vani Pelite created the two-on-one.

The Australians kept stringing phases together and eventually, Caslick found another gap in the PNG line, throwing a double pump dummy from 30 out to create the initial space.

Ellia Green scored another as the half time siren sounded, opening up a 24-0 lead at the break.The Aussies are flying on day one. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyGeorgie Friedrichs nabbed a back-to-back double straight after the break, a brilliant pass from Emma Tonegato setting up her second.

Tonegato nabbed a double of her soon after, putting the half century on the board for the Aussies.

A comprehensive win from the Australians, who are yet to concede a point through their first two starts.

2:30pm - Women's Pool A - France 22 Spain 0

France are on the board in Sydney, running in four tries against a sloppy Spain outfit.

Spain are yet to score a point, having been kept scoreless by Australia in their tournament opener.

2:15pm - Hayes says hey

We spoke to Demi Hayes, who's taken us behind the scenes at Allianz.


2:10pm - Women's Pool B - New Zealand 33 England 5

The Kiwis drew first blood through a relatively simple try to Michaela Blyde, Portia Woodman matching her fellow star's efforts with a five pointer of her own.

That opened up a 12-0 break and it took some stern Kiwi defence to repel the Poms from scoring their first of the match before the half time siren rung out.


A brilliant, leg pumping Heather Fisher run set up Deb Fleming for England's first soon after the break, setting up a thrilling second term.

But New Zealand showed their class edge immediately after, running in three tries to put the result beyond doubt, Woodman picking up her second hat trick in as many matches.

1:50pm - Women's Pool B - USA 38 Japan 0

USA opened the scoring through that woman Naya Tapper once again, her fourth of the tournament, before Leyla Alev Kelter added her team's second one minute before half time.

Kelter added her second on the stroke of half time before the US flexed their muscles in the second term, running in a procession of tries en route to a huge win.

1:25pm - Women's Pool C - Canada 24 Ireland 12

Canada have kept their perfect record at the Sydney Sevens intact but it wasn't without a fight, Ireland pushing them all the way in a thrilling clash.


Canada had their noses in front for the entire match but Ireland kept pushing them with tries of their own until the death, where Canada scored a late try to put the result beyond doubt.

1:05pm - Women's Pool C - Russia 19 Fiji 12

Russia are two from two in Pool C but have had to work for both their wins, Fiji pushing them all the way in their second pool match of the day.

The Russians were tested early on day one by Ireland and they were in for a similarly tight tussle against Fiji, running in two tries in the first term before Fiji hit back early in the second half.

The two teams traded one try each in the closing stages, Fiji falling short once more.

12:45pm - Aussies open campaign with a win

ICYMI, here's a full match report following Australia's opening pool match win over Spain and some highlights for your viewing pleasure.


See what Emma Sykes had to say, too.


12:05pm - Women's Pool A - Australia 29 Spain 0

Emma Sykes was the star of the show early, crossing for the first try of the match before converting from close to the sideline.

Charlotte Caslick matched her fellow playmaker's efforts two minutes later, winning a penalty over the ball at the breakdown and showing brilliant initiative to quickly tap and scoot over for Australia's second.

Ellia Green turned her first touch into gold, cleaning up a Sykes cutout pass, beating two defenders and touching down to mark a triumphant return to the field.Ellia Green is back. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThat took the score to 19-0 at the break and it was Sykes that crossed again halfway through the second term.

Vani Pelite, who starred in Dubai, was next to score, using the beacon of Green down the left hand sideline to leave the Spanish defenders clutching at air as she sliced the line to score the final five points of the match.

Australia's play was good but certainly not great, lacking the fluidity in attack that was there throughout the finals in Dubai.

That may be nerves and it may be rust but it will be something for coach Tim Walsh to ponder as they prepare for their second match of the afternoon, against PNG at 2:34pm AEDT.

11:45am - Women's Pool A - France 50 PNG 0

France set up shop inside PNG territory for the entire first half and scored three tries in that term, hardly getting out of first gear.

Nothing changed in the second half, as the French continued to completely control proceedings en route to a dominant win.

Next up, Australia's first pool match, against Spain.

11:25am - Women's Pool B - New Zealand 48 Japan 7

Portia Woodman predictably put the Kiwis on the board first, the first of four tries for New Zealand in the first half.


Woodman completed a hat trick early in the second term and had her fourth of the match soon after, as the Black Ferns ran in a procession of tries against a willing Japanese outfit.

11:10am - Aussies arrive

The Australian Women's Sevens squad have arrived as they prepare for their opening match against Spain.


11am - Women's Pool B - England 28 USA 24

England had all the ball early, stringing together enough phases to allow Heather Fisher to slice the line for the first points of the match.

Holly Aitchison doubled her team's lead soon after, a brilliant right foot step beating the American defence from just inside her own half.

USA finally got their first points as the half time siren sounded through Naya Tapper and levelled things up as play resumed.

Jess Breach crossed for England to put their noses back in front and subsequently scored her second to kill off a late American surge, despite a hat trick from Tapper.

10:40am - Women's Pool C - Canada 24 Fiji 12


Canada drew first blood through Caroline Crossley, reward for constant pressure in the Fijian half.

Hannah Darling scored a similar try down the left hand side soon after but they gifted the Fijians their first five points when Miriama Naiobasali picked off a wayward pass to run away and score.

Tima Ravisa then put the Fijians in front against the run of play before Brittany Benn returned serve for the Canadians, another late try putting the result beyond doubt.

10:20am - Women's Pool C - Russia 19 Ireland 7


Russia notched the first points of the tournaments when Baizat Khamidova crossed early but Ireland levelled things up as the half time siren sounded, Murphy Crowe dotting down under the posts.

The Russians were pinned to their line for the first three minutes of the second term but eventually, they found some space for the sharp Elena Zdrokova, who ran the length of the field to score.

Alena Mikhaltsova scored the sealer for the Russians as they secured the first win of the tournament.

9am - When you can watch the Aussies

Games kick off at 10am AEDT here at Allianz and it's expected to be a warm, but overcast day, with some showers predicted on a muggy Australia Day.

Australia's women play all three pool fixtures on Friday, starting with Spain. If you need to mark your calendars, here's when you'll need to fire up the Foxtel or flick over to this blog this afternoon.

Women

11:50am - Australia vs Spain

2:34pm - Australia vs PNG

5:18pm - Australia vs France

Men

8:12pm - Australia vs USA

8:44am - Aussies prepare for home tournament

The Sydney 7s is a big weekend for every Sevens side but none more so than the Australian teams.

Both sides had their jersey presentations on Thursday night, ahead of day one.

Multi-sports star Ellyse Perry presented the women with their jerseys, a special moment for the team ahead of their second home tournament.

 

Men's debutant Tom Connor was emotional as he was presented his first World Series jersey by his parents, a theme that spread across the team, with the players' families all in attendance on the eve of the Sydney 7s.


RUGBY.com.au spoke to Aussie 7s co-captain Shannon Parry and coach Tim Walsh during the week, with the pair reflecting on the 2016 tournament.


RUGBY.com.au films and Onion TV have produced Hold Back The River - a documentary looking behind the scenes of the women's Aussie Sevens in the lead-up to the 2017 Sydney 7s.

If you're looking for some morning viewing ahead of the Aussies' first game at 11:50am AEDT, you can watch every episode of Hold Back The River here, or catch up below.

EPISODE ONE


EPISODE TWO


EPISODE THREE


EPISODE FOUR


EPISODE FIVE