NZ lose to France for first time in 11 years at Singapore 7s

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Fiji rugby team celebrates after winning the final match against New Zealand at the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament in Hong Kong.

Fiji rugby team celebrates after winning the final match against New Zealand at the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament in Hong Kong. (Photo: AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

World series leaders Fiji and New Zealand surprisingly lost their opening matches and still went on to reach the quarterfinals in Singapore Sevens rugby on Saturday.

New Zealand not only fell to France for the first time in 11 years but was blown away 24-0. France also defeated the United States 19-17 and Canada 26-19 to set up a quarterfinal with Kenya. Virimi Vakatawa scored in all three wins, and notched his 50th career try.

New Zealand finished second by accounting for both North America sides.

That put New Zealand, second in the overall standings, in a quarterfinal with South Africa, third overall, and the only other team beside France to win all three of its pool games.

South Africa rubbed out Scotland, Russia, and Kenya, and Seabelo Senatla reached 50 tries for the season.

Fiji lost to Samoa 28-14 in a repeat result of their Las Vegas opener two tournaments ago. However, Fiji rebounded to beat Portugal 38-0 and England 26-12 and top their pool on points difference from Samoa, whose effort was spoiled by losing to England 12-5.

Samoa will play Argentina in the quarterfinals on Sunday, while England missed out for the first time in eight tournaments this season.

Argentina knocked off Australia 12-7, Wales 42-21 but drew with Japan 21-21.

Australia finished second in the pool, lining up Fiji in the quarters.

-AP

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