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Fiji, Kiwis reach Sevens' milestones

FRANCE surprised the United States 26-17 as favorites South Africa, New Zealand and England posted comfortable wins at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai on Thursday.

After virtually making up numbers in the sevens world series this season, France was boosted by an injection of Top 14 stars to upset the Americans, who reached the semifinals of their own tournament last month.

Rida Jaouher's try started France but the US replied with tries to Chris Wyles and Kevin Swiryn to lead 10-7 at halftime. Todd Clever's sinbinning hamstrung the Americans in the second half as France rallied with three tries and put itself in good shape to challenge defending champion Fiji for the lead in Pool B,

Fiji led Georgia only 12-10 at halftime then pulled away to win 26-10 and join New Zealand as the only teams to pass 1,000 points in World Cup Sevens history.

New Zealand hammered Italy 42-0 and Tonga cruised past Arabian Gulf 19-0 in Pool A.

Ciaran Hearn touched down twice as Canada built a 33-0, five-try halftime lead against Scotland and went on to win 33-14 in a Pool C upset. South Africa, the world series co-leader with England and trying to win its first World Cup, started with a 26-5 win over Japan that didn't impress coach Paul Treu. He was unhappy with the points conceded.

England, the 1993 champion, dispatched Hong Kong 42-5 despite another yellow card.

England will fight for Pool E's top spot with Kenya, which defeated Tunisia 29-7 with a hat-trick of tries to Collins Injera.


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