Fiji unbeaten but struggling at Dubai Sevens

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Fiji's Jasa Veremalua tries to avoid a tackle by Canada's Phil Berna during the World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Fiji's Jasa Veremalua tries to avoid a tackle by Canada's Phil Berna during the World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. (Photo: AP Photo/Martin Dokoupil)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Fiji resumed normal service in sevens rugby and won all three of its pool games in Dubai on Friday, on the first day of the world series.

But it was a struggle for the world series and Olympic champion.

Fiji blew a 19-0 lead against Canada, and needed a last-minute try from Waisea Nacuqu to win 26-19. Then they rallied from 12-7 down to beat Wales 24-12, and trailed 12-0 and 19-17 before beating Argentina 22-19 on another late try, by Joeli Lutumailagi.

Fiji will play France in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The others are: England vs. Scotland, Australia vs. Wales, South Africa vs. New Zealand.

South Africa eased through its pool against the United States, Scotland, and Uganda, while Australia needed a last-minute try from Charlie Taylor to beat Kenya 17-12 and top Pool D.

England handled Samoa and Russia, and five-time Dubai champion New Zealand 26-12. Tom Mitchell opened and finished with tries against the Kiwis, the second by racing through to his own kick in goal.

New Zealand's DJ Forbes set an appearance record in his 80th tournament, one more than Samoa's Uale Mai.

"It's pretty special," Forbes said. "It's a cliche, but it's a massive sacrifice by my family and friends for 11 years."

On the women's side, New Zealand beat Australia 17-5 in the final, and Russia defeated England for third place.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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