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Tough path through quarter-finals for All Blacks Sevens

The All Blacks Sevens side will need to beat South Africa to advance beyond the quarter-finals in the opening round of the HSBC World Sevens series in Dubai.

The New Zealanders lost to England 12-26 in the final game of the opening day after earlier beating Russia 26-5 and Samoa 26-21.


Fiji, South Africa, England and Australia all advanced from their pools with unbeaten records.

England made a strong start to shut the All Blacks Sevens out of their first half when taking a 12-0 lead.

Into the second half Sherwin Stowers pulled one try back, but England responded soon after with two tries in four minutes to get out to an unassailable 26-7 lead. Captain Scott Curry scored a late consolation try for the New Zealanders.

South Africa will be a tough opponent. They have been runners-up four years in a row in Dubai and World Rugby sevens player of the year Seabelo Senatla scored six tries during the day, two more than any other player. They beat Scotland, the United States and Uganda in their pool.
Defending series champions Fiji maintained their success from the Olympic Games to beat Wales, Argentina and Canada. They will play France in the quarter-finals, England will play Scotland and Australia will play Wales.

Earlier, the All Blacks took only a minute to register their first try of the tournament ion their opening game with Russia when Sione Molia scored. He picked up his second three minutes later and before half-time Stowers and DJ Forbes, who celebrated his record 80th tournament appearance, posted tries to give them a 26-0 lead.

But a stronger second half effort from the Russians saw them score the only try.

In their second game Samoa opened the scoring when Samoa Toloa touched down. It took the New Zealanders three minutes to settle after that when DJ Collier responded but then in quick succession Stowers and Curry crossed to give New Zealand a 19-7 lead at the break.

Curry scored a second first-up in the second half and Rocky Khan's conversion proved vital in taking the All Blacks to a 26-7 lead. Khan achieved 100 points in the Sevens series during the day.

It was just as well as Samoa came home with a wet sail before running out of time for a 26-21 loss.