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New Zealand standout on China 7s first day

After a thrilling and unpredictable first day of action at the China Sevens, only New Zealand take a 100% record into day 2. Canada and Australia also won their pools, but certainly did not have it their own way.

The weather was far better than forecast, resulting in a small but at times vocal crowd at the University Town Stadium in Guangzhou - especially when China were playing. 

The tournament began with a shock - Fiji turning over England in the final play of a tense match in the final game of round one, Elsewhere Canada confirmed their dominance over their North American rivals with a 35-7 win over the USA, while New Zealand and Australia seemed a different class with 33-0 and 50-0 wins over Brazil and Ireland respectively.

Round two saw more big wins for New Zealand, 50-0 over China, and Australia, who were pushed a little by Fiji but still ran out 24-5 winners. Spain and Russia also confirmed quarter-final places with second wins, while the round finished with almost as much drama as the first, with Ireland coming back from 21-0 down to England after 10 minutes with three tries, only to eventually lose 21-19.

The surprises and excitement continued in round three, First Nadezda Kudinova held her nerve to convert her own final-play try to draw 12-12 with Canada, the France held out in a thrilling game to beat USA 14-12 and thus take a quarter-final place. Spain showed great character against New Zealand, scoring the only try to Black Ferns conceded in the day, though they lost 26-5. Brazil then needed a big win over China, and seemed on their way to one when 22-7 up at half-time, but China fought back and very nearly stole the game, only going down 21-17.

Now out came England, who had had a very poor day to this point, against a dominant Australia. But this was a very different England. They shot into a 12-0 lead, before Australia clawed the game back to 12-12. With 30 seconds left England were awarded a penalty in front of the Australian posts, and took the three points, gambling that they could recover their restart. It was a gamble that almost did not come off, but a great tackle and desperate turnover won England the game.

Finally Fiji beat Ireland comfortably to win the reward for their efforts of a Cup quarter-final spot against Russia.

Also tomorrow England will play Canada, Australia face Spain in the last eight, and New Zealand, who only conceded one try in their three matches will play France in the last eight of the Cup. Captain Huriana Manuel was happy with her side's performance.

"We went well. Our main focus was our defence and looking at the first two games we kept it at zero. We let one try in in the third match (against Spain) but we're just hard on ourselves."

"I know that all the teams will bring it tomorrow as it's finals day - the second day is always the toughest."

All of Saturday's action was streamed live on wsws.irb.com and tomorrow the action resumes online at 10am in Guangzhou (GMT +8)