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Rugby's rumble underway


Fiji, Australia, South Africa and Wales march on to the quarter-finals.

Canada vs New Zealand

Crunch time at the City of Manchester Stadium

The rugby sevens competition hots up on Saturday with the last round of pool matches in the afternoon session and the start of the knockout phase in the evening.

Four teams - Fiji, Australia, South Africa and Wales - have already booked their places in the quarter-finals of the main competition, but will nevertheless be trying to win their final pool games to ensure easier quarter final opponents.

Whoever loses the Wales vs South Africa clash will have the unenviable task of facing New Zealand in the next round.

Other encounters are even more crucial. Scotland must beat New Zealand to remain in the main event, whilst a victory for Kenya against the Cook Islands would almost certainly guarantee their passage to the last eight.

Apart from a small number of one-sided affairs, the matches on day one of competition suggested that the tournament is still relatively open.

Favourites New Zealand and hosts England both showed occasional defensive frailties, and Fiji, Australia and South Africa all displayed enough prolific attacking form, albeit against some weak opposition, to maintain their status as potential gold medallists.

Players to watch out for in Saturdayís session include New Zealandís Amasio Valence, already the scorer of three tries, and the Fijian captain Waisale Serevi, a master tactician and controller of the abbreviated game.

The stadium is sold out for both Saturday sessions and for Sundayís semi-finals and final.

Info News Service/sm/rb

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