Rugby: Fiji, New Zealand suffer shock pool losses but regroup to qualify for Cup q-finals

Fiji's Jasa Veremalua evading the challenge of Portugal's Pedro Silverio to score a try. Fiji won the match 38-0.
Fiji's Jasa Veremalua evading the challenge of Portugal's Pedro Silverio to score a try. Fiji won the match 38-0. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - There were shocks in store on the opening day of the eagerly-anticipated Singapore Sevens with rugby sevens giants New Zealand and Fiji suffering shock losses in the pool stages on Saturday.

The All Blacks were stunned 24-0 by France, who completed a hat-trick of victories in Pool B to top the group and will face Kenya in the Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

New Zealand, 12-time winners of the World Rugby Sevens Series, recovered from that setback but posted unconvincing wins over Canada (24-17) and the United States (19-12) and will face Pool C winners South Africa at the National Stadium.

Reigning Seven Series champions Fiji also lost their opening tie, falling 14-28 to Samoa. Ben Ryan's side regrouped from that sluggish performance with wins over Portugal (38-0) and England (21-12) and will play Australia in the last-eight of the Cup trophy.

Said Ryan: "It was a bad start by us. No excuses though. The boys just didn't execute and our ball handling was poor. We need to sharpen these things in the next round."

Argentina qualified first from Pool D and will face Samoa in the final quarterfinal clash.