Sixteen international teams and their fans, over 38,000 of them, got together to create a festival of rugby on Saturday. In the first of two days in Canada, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series opener at BC Place, Vancouver went the way of Australia, 12-7 against France. Both teams went down team USA and the Eagles finished at the top of Pool C.
With four wins already in the Rugby Sevens competition this year, South Africa came into Vancouver as favorites. The Blitzboks put in solid performances against Kenya and Chile and did enough with a tied game against England to take first place in Pool A.
Pool B proved to be the most interesting of the day. Wales went down to Fiji in their first game, 34-19 but then came back with two tries late in their games against Argentina and Samoa to win with the same score, 21-14. In a thrilling game, a late try by Argentina’s Franco Sabato was converted by a superb kick from the touchline by Javier Rojas to edge out Fiji 26-24.
Home team Canada got the crowd wired up during the day with a couple of wins against Scotland and Russia. In the final game of the day against New Zealand, a late try by Adam Zaruba was not quite enough. The All Blacks head into the second day as number one in Pool D.