Successful day one for New Zealand Sevens sides in Birmingham

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The New Zealand women's Sevens side romped through with a 60-0 win over Sri Lanka and a 45-7 win over Canada, while the men survived a fright by Samoa. The defending champions coming from 7-17 down at halftime to beat Samoa 19-17. 


Sam Dickson, Joe Webber and Caleb Tangitau scored New Zealand's tries while Ngarohi McGarvey-Black landed two conversions.


Samoa had earlier beaten England 34-0 in their first game of the tournament


Earlier, the men beat Sri Lanka 63-5 with Ngarohi McGarvey-Black and Sione Molia scoring two tries each and Scott Curry, Dylan Collier, Joe Webber, Akuila Rokolisoa and Caleb Tangitau scoring tries. McGarvey-Black landed five conversions and Rokolisoa four.


Australia were held to a 12-12 draw by Uganda.


The New Zealand men meet England in their next game which will decide the quarter-finalists who meet in their first games on Saturday evening.



The New Zealand women's next opponent, also England, will be desperate in Saturday's first game as they suffered a 19-26 loss to Canada on Friday


While there was satisfaction with a sound start, they will be sweating on an ankle injury suffered by Portia Woodman in their opening game against Canada. She was unable to play against Sri Lanka.


Coach Cory Sweeney said they had played Canada twice in recent World Sevens tournaments and knew they had been working hard. They showed good improvement.


"It probably took us a little longer to get into the game than we would have liked," he said.


The win over Sri Lanka earlier in the day was about respecting that game and they did that well.


"What we've been working on is trying to put our game together. In the past we might have concentrated on a certain portion of the game.


"Our strength is if we can get restarts, set-piece, attack and defence all working together, and gelling with each other, then that's where we're probably at our best.


"We saw glimpses of that today and it's a really good day one but we know it is just day one. We've got a big day tomorrow. First up is England and they'll be hurting after losing to Canada tonight. We're looking forward to that," he said.


Michaela Blyde's six tries against Sri Lanka were a Commonwealth Games record for New Zealand.


Sweeney said she was a special athlete with special speed who had good people inside her to put her into good spaces.


But it might never have happened as he intended to substitute her at halftime but he thought she must have mis-heard the sub call as she stayed on.


"Mini [Blyde] thrives in these environments. She's been looking forward to this event for a long time and we've seen the evidence of hard work," he said.


They were hopeful that Portia Woodman would have recovered from an ankle injury to be fit to play on the second day.


In beating Canada 45-7, Michaela Blyde scored two tries with Kelly Brazier, Portia Woodman, Risaleaana Pouri-Lane, Stacey Fluhler and Alena Saili scoring tries. Tyla Nathan-Wong landed two conversions and Pouri-Lane three conversions.


In the 60-0 win over Sri Lanka, Michaela Blyde scored six tries, Fluhler 2, Nathan-Wong and Jazmin Felix-Hotham one each with Nathan-Wong kicking five conversions.



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