Dubai: A couple of milestones did matter and not even a temporary mid-afternoon power outage at The Sevens could stop English star Dan Norton from becoming the first man-ever to score 300 tries and stand among the legends of the sport as the men’s competition for the Dubai Rugby Sevens got under way at The Sevens on Friday.
Norton was the first to touch down in a 26-12 romp against Canada as England opened with a dominant result in their first Pool D match.
The 30-year-old, who currently stands unchallenged at the top with Kenya’s Collins Injera a distant second with 271 tries, was simply unstoppable as he wafted from the right starting from his own half to cut through the fragile Canadian defence as England dominated for a perfect start. Norton also leads the all-time points scorers’ list with 1,514.
“It’s an amazing feeling to get my 300th try here in Dubai where I had one of my first tournaments,” Norton told media after the match.
“And it was made even better by the brilliant support we get out here. It’s great to have my family out here in the crowds too” he added.
The second milestone moment of the day came later in the afternoon as Fiji captain Kalione Nasoko scored his 50th try after Jerry had beaten four defenders to hand it over to his skipper to open the scoring against Scotland as the islanders held on for a narrow 21-19 result in Pool B.
Other than this it was business as usual as the main protagonists came to the fore in the quarter-final line-up scheduled from 11am on Saturday. Traditional forces New Zealand, a former six-time champion in Dubai — were among the first to book their place alongside the USA from Pool C. Pool D also proved easy with Australia and England ending at the top even before their scheduled final group encounter.
Olympic champions Fiji maintained their supremacy while coming through unscathed from Pool B along with Scotland — who drew 14-14 with France in their match — and qualify ahead of the French, while South Africa and Argentina made it through from Pool A after the South Americans stunned the defending two-time champions 17-12 in their final pool match.
Action will continue at The Sevens Stadium with the first of the men’s matches kicking off at 9.30am. The main quarter-finals will be held at 11am with Pool A toppers South Africa taking on either England/Australia.
Pool A: Samoa v Argentina 21-19; South Africa v Zimbabwe 31-0; Argentina v Zimbabwe 22-19; South Africa v Samoa 19-12; Samoa v Zimbabwe 17-15; Argentina v South Africa 17-12.
Pool B: Scotland v Kenya 35-14; Fiji v France 41-0; France v Kenya 21-17; Fiji v Scotland 21-19; Scotland v France 14-14; Fiji v Kenya 43-12.
Pool C: USA v Spain 29-0; New Zealand v Wales 28-7; USA v Wales 33-12; New Zealand v Spain 28-17; Spain v Wales 35-7; New Zealand v USA 24-7.
Pool D: England v Canada 26-12; Australia v Japan 43-0; England v Japan 31-7; Australia v Canada 31-19; Canada v Japan 27-7.
(11am) South Africa v England OR Australia
(11am) New Zealand v Scotland
(11am) Australia OR England v Argentina
(12.06pm) Fiji v USA