New Zealand, Australia and USA win opening games on day two
New Zealand, Japan, Australia and South Africa all kick started their BT WWRC campaigns in the second day of games
Nathaniel Holland takes a look at all the action from the opening three games of day two.
New Zealand 64-32 South Africa
New Zealand couldn’t have wished for a better start to their BT WWRC campaign as they beat South Africa 64-32 in the opening game of day two.
South Africa, the lowest ranked side at the tournament, knew they would be have to be at their best to get a result but the Wheel Blacks were efficient to comfortably sail past their South African opponents.
New Zealand were scoring for fun straight from the tip-off gaining a three point lead in the opening minute of play.
With the Wheel Blacks dominant all over the court, Okker Anker was impressive for South Africa as they tried to put themselves back into the game.
With the score at 15-6 to New Zealand after the first quarter, South Africa had it all to do but they struggled to handle the presence of Nafi Lefono who managed to score four tries in three minutes.
Andrew Chittock’s New Zealand scored a whopping 18 points in the second quarter with the help from Lefono, Maia Amai and Hayden Barton-Cootes.
The third quarter continued in the same fashion and Cameron Leslie was causing all sorts of problems for the Wheel Boks defence.
South Africa’s Musa Simelane put in a good shift to score a couple of tries in quick succession but a 10th try for Leslie saw the score at 48-21 with eight minutes remaining.
Anker managed to score his ninth try at the beginning of the final period of play but New Zealand didn’t slow down to record a 64-32 victory.
Australia 65-62 Japan
In the day’s second encounter, world number one team Australia fought hard to take a 65-62 victory over Japan.
The scores were close throughout the game as Japan went wheel-to-wheel and matched Australia’s score for much of the first half.
There were personal battles on court between Ryley Batt and Daisuke Ikezaki with the latter scoring 29 tries for his country.
Australia took a one-point lead into the second quarter with the scores at 15-14 before doubling that advantage into the second interval, this time leading 30-28.
Koichi Ogino’s men missed a perfect chance to level the scores in the third period when a loose pass could have tied the game at 41-41.
The Aussies used that to their advantage and were able to step up and take a three-point lead into the final period.
In the final quarter, Australia briefly held a four-point lead but Japan battled to try and take something from the game, however, Australia held on to their three-point advantage to win the game.
USA 54–45 New Zealand
USA bounced back from their opening day defeat to Canada to end New Zealand’s unbeaten start to the tournament with a 54-45 win.
The Wheel Blacks had already played once this morning and had to regroup for their second game against USA.
New Zealand carried on their impressive form from the first game and Cameron Leslie and Maia Amai were stand out performers in the early stages of the game.
USA were spreading the points around in the first period, boasting six different scorers to record a 15-11 lead after eight minutes.
Leslie was on a mission to close the gap on USA and he scored three quick tries to reduce the deficit.
Andrew Chittock’s side managed to pull the score to within three points but Chuck Aoki personally made sure the Eagles stayed ahead, making it nine tries before half time for the number five.
New Zealand always looked dangerous and they again managed to pull some points back but they soon found themselves seven points down heading into the final period with a score of 39-32.
USA however were able to hold on and stayed on top in the final moments and Eric Newby managed to hit double figures when he got his tenth of the game to end the scoring 54-45 to USA.
There is still more action to come tonight when Great Britain look to continue their winning run against Australia (17:30pm GMT) followed by USA playing South Africa (19:45pm GMT).