Text, Picture and Video: World Rugby
Defending champions New Zealand, HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series leaders USA, Australia, Canada, France and Spain were all victorious on day one of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2019 at 7he Sevens Stadium on Thursday.
The Black Ferns Sevens secured the biggest win of the day, beating invitational team Japan 48-0 with braces from Stacey Waaka and Huia Harding, as they bid to become the first team to successfully defend the title in HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series history.
Australia, USA and France were equally comfortable winners, but Canada had to dig deep to withstand a fight-back by Russia to triumph 24-19 and Spain only took the lead with time up on the clock against Ireland thanks to Patricia Garcia's conversion in a 12-10 win.
The action continues on Friday with the two remaining rounds of pool play before the knockout stages on Saturday. Spain will again kick off the day's play at 7he Sevens Stadium, this time against Fiji, at 09:00 local time (GMT+4) before Olympic champions Australia face Ireland.
Series champions Fiji, USA and South Africa all survived scares to win their opening matches at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2019 on Thursday.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series returned with a bang on Thursday with five of the eight men's matches on day one of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2019 decided by sevens points or less.
Series champions Fiji held off a fast-finishing Japan 24-17, while USA beat new core team Ireland 24-19 and South Africa had to come from behind to edge Kenya 17-12 in the last match of the day at 7he Sevens Stadium.
Samoa and France were the other narrow winners, coming through against Canada and Argentina respectively with a successful conversion giving Les Bleus the smallest winning margin of the day, 12-10.
By contrast, defending champions New Zealand and England put Wales and Spain to the sword by the same margin – 36-7 – while Australia were the day's top scorers with seven tries in a 43-14 defeat of Scotland.
The Dubai Sevens men's competition continues on Friday with the two remaining rounds of pool play before the knockout stages on Saturday. Samoa will again kick off the men's matches at 7he Sevens Stadium, this time against Wales at 11:14 local time (GMT+4) before defending champions New Zealand tackle Canada.