Cape Town — There were some big results on day one of the Rugby Cup Sevens, and some surprising ones, too.
Ireland pulled off an ‘upset’ to knock England out of cup contention with a 17- 5 victory.
The Cup features a straight knockout format; if a team loses a game, they are out of the running for the Melrose Cup.
The Irish, who beat Portugal earlier in the day, came out on top against England in a convincing performance at Cape Town Stadium.
They were in control right from the start and didn’t allow England to get any momentum. It was evident in the three tries Ireland scored compared to the solo consolation try England managed.
With the 17-5 victory, Ireland will face either the Blitzboks or Chile in the championship round on Saturday.
There was another rather unexpected result on Friday when Samoa thrashed the USA 40-12.
Given the form of both Ireland and Samoa this season, it is perhaps not entirely correct to refer to their victories as upsets, but the sides they got the better of certainly are traditionally stronger than them, though those two results certainly showed the growth of a number of teams.
Samoa will face wither Fiji or Wales on Saturday.
In another big one, Sevens Cup champions New Zealand made their game against Scotland look like nothing more than a unopposed practice run as they soared to a 43-5 triumph.
The All Blacks Sevens were absolutely ruthless as they deprived the Scots of opportunities and proved potent whenever they had the ball.
The Kiwis will face either Argentina or Kenya on Saturday evening, while the Blitzboks were set to begin their campaign with a clash against Chile at 7.03pm on Friday.