England fail to progress to cup quarter-finals in Hamilton Sevens
Last Updated: 26/01/19 1:28pm
Fiji, the United States, South Africa and New Zealand topped their pools with unbeaten records after the first day of the New Zealand leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
Defending world champions South Africa will play Samoa, World Series leaders the United States will take on Scotland, Fiji will tackle Canada and New Zealand will face Australia in Sunday's quarter-finals.
Of the pool winners, hosts New Zealand were most impressive, beating Japan 52-0, Canada 49-10 and Spain 24-0.
New Zealand scored two late tries in their final match against Spain to cost the Spaniards a place in the quarter-finals, sending Canada through to the last eight in the Cup competition on points difference.
Spain and New Zealand came into the final match of the day with two wins, along with Canada who had also had two wins in Pool D, leaving both quarter-final places from that pool up in the air.
New Zealand took almost nine minutes to break the Spanish defence for their first try. They led 12-0 close to full-time, keeping Spain's hopes of a quarter-final place alive as they could lose by 17 points and still advance ahead of Canada on differential.
But late tries to Sione Molia and Kurt Baker handed the last quarter-final place to Canada.
"We knew whoever won would top the pool," New Zealand captain Tim Mikkelson said. "We've played [Spain] a couple of times and we knew it would be a tough game.
"We needed to be a bit more decisive out there. We had a different team for the first and second games and we wanted to keep on building. We've got a lot of people who can come off the bench and it really doesn't matter who starts. If we can start well tomorrow then we can take it into the quarter-final."
Fiji took first place in Pool A when they beat Australia 26-19 in their final match after previously beating Wales 54-7 and Argentina 33-24.
The shock of the day came in Pool B as England lost twice to miss out on the quarter-finals. England went down 29-10 to Samoa and 19-7 to the United States, managing only a 36-7 win over Tonga. The United States beat Samoa 34-14 in the match that decided first place.
South Africa topped Pool C, beating Kenya 29-21, France 17-5 and Scotland 26-7.
The United States lead the World Series after two rounds. New Zealand won the first tournament in Dubai and Fiji won the second in Cape Town but the United States were runners-up at both stops.