Fiji, South Africa and England won all three of their matches on day one of the HSBC Sydney Sevens, the fourth round of the series, while hosts Australia and New Zealand ended the opening day with an enthralling 17-17 draw.
In the Pool A decider, New Zealand came from 17-5 down at half-time to level the scores thanks to tries from Augustine Pulu and Ardie Savea, putting the All Blacks Sevens through as pool winners on points differential and they will meet USA in the first quarter-final on day two, while England await hosts Australia.
At a sun-soaked Allianz Stadium, HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series leaders South Africa, second-placed Fiji and fourth-placed England also impressed winning all three of their matches in front of a sold-out crowd of 36,218 fans.
Ben Ryan’s Fiji continued their impressive pool stage record, their three wins ensuring they have now tasted victory in 39 of their last 39 pool matches after victories over Samoa, France and Argentina. Savenaca Rawaca scored twice in the 19-14 Pool C deciding win over Los Pumas, and they will face Kenya in their quarter-final on day two.
Series leaders South Africa also won their three matches, beating Kenya 26-19 to finish top of Pool B with Seabelo Senatla, who leads the way in the DHL performance index in Sdyney, scoring his 24th try of the series so far. Neil Powell’s Blitzboks will come up against Argentina in a repeat of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens final.