Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Sevens: NZ progress to quarter-finals unbeaten

New Zealand's Kurt Baker, front, is tackled by England's James Rodwell during a World Rugby Sevens Series' Canada Sevens match in Vancouver. Photo / (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
New Zealand's Kurt Baker, front, is tackled by England's James Rodwell during a World Rugby Sevens Series' Canada Sevens match in Vancouver. Photo / (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

New Zealand are through to a World Series Sevens Cup quarter-final against Samoa following an unbeaten first day in Vancouver highlighted by a comprehensive victory over the USA.

Gordon Tietjens men held off England 7-0 in their first pool game, and came from behind to beat France 24-10, but they really hit their stride in a 17-5 win in their final match of the day against fellow unbeaten team the USA.

It was a match to remember for Counties Manukau player Sione Molia, making his debut at this level and scoring the game's first two tries to put his side in control. Kurt Baker, who later left the field injured, scored under the posts after the halftime hooter to give his team a 17-0 lead, and while they couldn't press home their advantage after the break, the damage had been done.

The carrot for the winner of the match was a quarter-final against Samoa rather than tournament leaders Fiji, so Tietjens' men will be happy with the result and most likely their performance overall on the first day at a packed BC State Stadium.

New Zealand, third on the standings behind Fiji and South Africa, will be hoping for a place in the Cup final at least in order to gather maximum points following their defeats to Kenya and South Africa in Las Vegas last weekend.

Earlier, Fiji were in danger of losing to Kenya in their final pool game but got home 23-19 thanks to a final-second converted try from Kitione Taliga.

The most popular victory of the day was Canada's 14-12 triumph over Australia. The Australians are fourth on the standings, the Canadians 12th.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 04 Dec 2016 23:37:37 Processing Time: 267ms