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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - The US and Ireland players fight for possession during the Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens at the Sevens Stadium. (Photo by Neeraj Murali)
Although it is still early days to Tokyo, with the Summer Games still six months away, the All Blacks got working towards that goal
The New Zealand Rugby Sevens men's team followed in the footsteps of their female counterparts with a successful start to their Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens defence on Thursday night.
After the women had slayed Japan earlier, the All Blacks, six-time champions of the Dubai Sevens, worked off Wales 36-7 in their Pool C opener on Pitch 1 at The Sevens Stadium.
It was a good way to ease the hurt of finishing third behind Fiji and the United States in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and also put them on the road for the Tokyo Olympics.
Although it is still early days to Tokyo, with the Summer Games still six months away, the All Blacks got working towards that goal.
New Zealand were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Fiji, who went on to triumph as the Sevens made its Olympic debut in Rio in 2016.
Meanwhile, six-time winners South Africa survived an early scare to edge past Kenya 17-12 in Pool D.
Men's action had got going with Samoa putting aside the sorrow of losing young children to the measles epidemic with a 19-12 victory over Canada in Pool C.
Samoa, who had won the tournament in Dubai in 2012 and were runners-up in 2002, 2009 and 2010, were given a great welcome at the venue, prior to their tournament opener. Gary Chapman, President Emirates Group & dnata, had urged on tournament eve, to extend a warm welcome to the Samoans.
"Samoa are going through a pretty terrible time right now because of the measles epidemic. And I know that some of the Samoan players themselves have been personally affected by this," Chapman had said.
The deadly measles epidemic has so far claimed over 60 lives in Samoa.
RESULTS AND FIXTURES
Pool A: France beat Argentina 12-10; Fiji beat Japan 24-17.
Pool B: Australia beat Scotland 43-14; USA beat Ireland 24-19.
Pool C: Samoa beat Canada 19-12; New Zealand beat Wales 36-7.
Pool D: England beat Spain 36-7; South Africa beat Kenya 17-12.
> FRIDAY'S FIXTURES
Pool A: France vs Japan 12.42 a.m; Fiji vs Argentina 1.04 a.m; Argentina vs Japan 6.40 p.m; Fiji vs France 7.02 p.m.
Pool B: Australia vs Ireland 11.58 a.m; USA vs Scotland 12.20 p.m; Scotland vs Ireland 5.50 p.m; USA vs Australia 6.12 p.m.
Pool C: Samoa vs Wales 11.14 a.m; New Zealand vs Canada 11.36 a.m; Canada vs Wales 5.06 p.m; New Zealand vs Samoa 5.28 p.m.
Pool D: England vs Kenya 1.26 p.m; South Africa vs Spain 1.48 p.m; Spain vs Kenya 7.32 p.m; South Africa vs England 7.54 p.m.
Pool A: Canada beat Russia 24-19; USA beat Brazil 29-7.
Pool B: Spain beat Ireland 12-10; Australia beat Fiji 38-0.
Pool C: France beat England 29-0; New Zealand beat Japan 48-0.
> FRIDAY'S FIXTURES
Pool A: Canada vs Brazil, 9.44 a.m; USA vs Russia 10.06 a.m; Russia vs Brazil 2.56 p.m; USA vs Canada 3.18 p.m.
Pool B: Spain vs Fiji 9 a.m; Australia vs Ireland 9.22 a.m; Ireland vs Fiji 2.12 p.m; Australia vs Spain 2.34 p.m.
Pool C: France vs Japan 10.28 a.m; New Zealand vs England 10.50 a.m; England vs Japan 3.40 p.m; New Zealand vs France 4.02 p.m
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