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All Blacks Sevens unbeaten in Wellington

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/01/2017

New Zealand have marched to three wins out of three including a highly-anticipated win over Samoa on the first day of the Wellington Sevens.

Chasing a fourth successive crown in Wellington, the hosts started with a comfortable 33-7 win over Samoa before downing France 21-14 and the United States 24-12.

It sets up quarter-final on Sunday against Olympic champions Fiji, who went down to series leaders South Africa in the game of the day.

The Samoan match carried ample interest as the Pacific island nation were coached for the first time by decorated former All Blacks Sevens mentor Sir Gordon Tietjens.

However, Tietjens couldn't lift his players to an upset as they went on to lose all of their matches on day one.

The US game was the tightest for New Zealand, who trailed 12-7 at halftime after Tim Mikkelson was shown a yellow card for a knee to the back of a defender.

However, they recovered, with Isaac Te Tanaki using spritely footwork to cross twice.

Another to impress was rookie playmaker Vilimoni Koroi, who bagged his debut try in the first spell.

The other pool winners were South Africa, England and Canada, with the Blitzboks emerging as the most impressive of the 16 teams on show.

After whitewashing Japan 33-0 and Australia 28-0, South Africa dominated the most anticipated game of the day when they beat Fiji 31-12.

A Fijian side missing several of their Rio heroes paid the price for an early yellow card to Vatemo Ravouvou.

By the time he was back on the park, the Blitzboks had scored three of their five tries including the first of a brace to the quicksilver Seabelo Senatla.

England never looked in trouble against Papua New Guinea (40-0), Argentina (26-7) and Kenya (31-12) to set up a quarter-final against Scotland.

Canada, ranked 13th after two rounds of the world series, toppled fourth-placed Scotland 28-19 and sixth-placed Wales 28-5. Their first-up opponents on Sunday are Argentina.

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