Fiji Women lead the way at Women's World Sevens Series qualifier in Hong Kong

Fiji Women lead the way at Women's World Sevens Series qualifier in Hong Kong

Fiji and the Netherlands were the only teams to will all three matches on day one of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series qualifier at the Shek Kip Mei Sports Ground in Hong Kong on Friday.

The Fijians, Cup semi-finalists in the Chinese round of the Series in 2013/14, proved too strong for Argentina, Kenya and Japan to top Pool B. Fiji powered through, scoring more than 30 points in each match, running strong lines with some spectacular ball handling. Japan join them in the Cup quarter-finals after showing some fearless defence and speed on the wings.

The Netherlands finished top of Pool C, although did not have things all their own way. They survived a scare in their first match after trailing hosts Hong Kong 10-0 at half-time, before coming through to win 12-10 and then overcome Portugal 14-0 and Brazil 7-0. Hosts of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Brazil remain in contention for a core team place on the Series after also beating Portugal and Hong Kong.

Pool A, as predicted, proved the closest with France, China and South Africa each winning two matches and losing one. France, with a number of their players having been involved at Women's Rugby World Cup 2014, topped the pool by virtue of a better point difference.

Their loss against South Africa (21-19) in their opening game was a little unexpected, the South Africans capitalising on their opponents being penalised often in their 22. The margin of France’s victories over Mexico (66-0) and Asian powerhouse China (26-7) saw them top the pool with a better point differential than both the Chinese and South Africans.

Portugal and South Africa complete the quarter-final line-up as the two best third placed teams. Portugal have surprised many at this tournament as they have shown some good speed and committed defence. They put on a show in the final game of the day against Hong Kong as the hosts – coached by Black Ferns legend Anna Richards – fought back from 19-7 down to draw level with a minute left on the clock. There was to be no dream victory, though, as Portugal scored a final try to seal victory.

The winners of the four Cup quarter-finals on Saturday will secure core team places on the 2014/15 Series alongside defending champions New Zealand, Australia, Canada, England, Russia, Spain and USA.

While their dream of joining the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series as a core team in 2014/15 is over, there is still plenty for Argentina, Mexico, Hong Kong and Kenya to play for on Saturday as they contest the Bowl semi-finals, which kick-off at 09:32 local time (BST +7 hours).

Cup quarter-finals

  • Fiji vs Portugal
  • China vs Brazil
  • France vs Japan
  • Netherlands vs South Africa

Day one results

  • Fiji 52-7 Argentina
  • Japan 31-0 Kenya
  • France 19-21 South Africa
  • China 44-0 Mexico
  • Brazil 38-7 Portugal
  • Netherlands 12-10 Hong Kong
  • Fiji 45-0 Kenya
  • Japan 35-0 Argentina
  • France 66-0 Mexico
  • China 31-7 South Africa
  • Brazil 22-0 Hong Kong
  • Netherlands 14-0 Portugal
  • Fiji 33-7 Japan
  • Argentina 19-5 Kenya
  • France 26-7 China
  • South Africa 36-0 Mexico
  • Brazil 0-7 Netherlands
  • Portugal 26-19 Hong Kong