LAS VEGAS — Rugby Sevens world series leaders South Africa posted two victories Friday on the opening day of the USA Sevens — including one over Canada — while second-place New Zealand split their two matches.
South Africa, also the defending champions in Las Vegas, opened its play in Pool B with a 26-21 win over Wales, scoring a last-minute try for the victory. South Africa then beat Canada 19-12 in the last match of the night at Sam Boyd Stadium, scoring two early tries before Canada had a late surge to make it close.
The Canadians began their day with a 40-12 loss against England. They have one more round-robin game against Wales on Saturday.
New Zealand beat Uruguay 28-7 but lost to another South American side, dropping a 26-19 decision to Argentina in Pool D.
The host Americans had two big wins in Pool C, beating Samoa 26-12 — Danny Barrett scored a try in the second minute to give the Americans a fast start. The U.S. then beat Australia 28-7 after leading 21-0 at halftime.
England also won both its matches, outclassing Canada 40-12 before beating Wales 33-12, led by Tom Bowen's three tries, to be level with South Africa in first place in Pool B.
Fiji, which leads Pool A, and Pool D-leading Argentina also opened with two wins each.
South Africa leads the overall series with 77 points after four events, followed by New Zealand (69), Fiji (62) and Australia (60). The Americans are in seventh place with 36 points.
The three-day tournament ends Sunday with Cup and Challenge finals and other playoffs for placings.
The Associated Press