Hong Kong Sevens preview: England look to build on encouraging start

Team captain Philadelphia Olando

Meanwhile, Tonga and Cook Islands are trying win a place on the next Sevens World Series at the qualifying tournament in Hong Kong.

To add to the excitement, the series' top four finishers this year will automatically qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Fiji joined the All Blacks Sevens in winning their first Pool C contest by claiming a 22-5 victory over Kenya in a rematch of last year's Hong Kong Sevens final.

In Pool A, South Africa beat Japan 22-7 and Samoa defeated Scotland 17-7, while France routed Portugal 40-7 and Argentina beat Canada 19-14 in Pool B.

Papua New Guinea finished second with seven points as Hong Kong came third with five points two ahead of fourth placed Uganda.

It was the first time the team won a game at the Hong Kong 7s tournament and only their second time to make an appearance.

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Australia will now need to beat both Fiji and Kenya in their remaining pool games on Saturday to progress to the same-day finals.

The US, who have a seven-point lead over New Zealand at the top of the standings, opened their Hong Kong Sevens campaign by thrashing Spain 39-7 in Pool D.

Only the tournament victor earns a place in next season's World Rugby Seven Series.

Yesterday, the Cooks were beaten by Chile 31-5 and Germany 10-7.

Ireland captain Billy Dardis reflected on the disappointment of missing out on series qualification last year: "I think last year we overestimated ourselves and so this year we are fully focused on the task and are not going to underestimate anyone".

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