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USA Sevens: New Zealand has 2 wins in Las Vegas

NZ 7's Johnathan Malo enroute to a second half try versus Japan at the USA Sevens, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.  [Photo: Barry Markowitz]

LAS VEGAS (AP) —The top four teams in this year's IRB Sevens world series played true to form Friday at the three-day USA Sevens, with New Zealand, Fiji, England and South Africa all winning their opening two matches.

New Zealand, leading with 73 points after four events, beat Australia 31-5 and Japan 42-5 in Pool A, where Samoa was also 2-0.

Second-placed Fiji, three points behind New Zealand, had Pool B wins over Argentina and the United States, which also lost to Canada.

South Africa led Pool C while England, in third place overall, won both its Pool D matches along with Kenya.

With two wins each in their pool, England, Kenya, New Zealand and Samoa have guaranteed themselves Cup quarterfinal spots.

Two Tomasi Cama tries in the second half ensured New Zealand defeated their trans-Tasman rivals Australia, with Mark Jackman also scoring twice in the match and Lote Raikabula adding the first.

In the Kiwis' victory over Japan, Frank Halai and Johnathan Malo's each had two tries while Jackman added 15 points.

England had a tough time beating neighbors Scotland 12-7, with Christian Lewis-Pratt diving over the line on the final play of the match after England was reduced to six men by Dan Norton's sending off.

Norton's fourth try of the opening day had given England a 7-0 lead. He scored three tries in England's 29-5 win over Brazil.

The Brazilians, who also lost 38-0 to Kenya, are making their first appearance in world sevens since 2002. They plan to build towards the hosting of seven-a-side rugby's first Olympic tournament in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

"It's a good experience, we've been looking forward to competing at this high level,'' said coach Martin Schusterman. "Brazil really needs this sort of competition and hopefully one day we'll get to the right spot.

"They show a lot of passion for the game when they practice, and they also show that on the pitch. We've brought a lot of youngsters in order to gain experience looking ahead to 2016, and the union is doing a lot of work to grow the sport's grassroots in Brazil.''

Teams will play their final pool matches Saturday in Las Vegas, followed by quarterfinals.

Semifinals and finals in shield, plate, bowl and championship cup divisions are scheduled for Sunday at Sam Boyd Stadium.



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