USA stun New Zealand on day one of Dubai Sevens
The United States hammered home their growing reputation with a stunning 14-12 win over New Zealand at the Dubai Sevens on Friday.
The USA had clinched the 2014-15 season-ending London Sevens title in May, beating South Africa, England and Australia in the process.
On Friday, they proved that was no fluke with a rollercoaster struggle through pool C.
After beating Portugal 45-14 but losing to France 26-21, the Americans looked destined for the consolation round when they trailed New Zealand 12-7 as the buzzer sounded.
But Perry Baker then scored his second try of the match in the corner to draw the scores level before captain Madison Hughes stepped up to slot over the conversion.
WATCH: USA stun New Zealand at Dubai Sevens
That knocked out France and gave the USA a Cup quarter-final date on Saturday against defending Dubai champions South Africa.
New Zealand topped the pool and will face Samoa.
The other quarter-finals will see defending world champions Fiji take on Australia while England tackle Argentina.
Fiji got off to a flying start with nine tries scored by nine different players in a 63-14 rout of Canada before beating Japan 21-17 and Argentina 28-0.
“We scored 16 tries today and every single one was converted, which is awesome,” Fiji coach Ben Ryan told gulfnews.com.
“We scored a lot of points and our defence on the whole was OK, with a couple of soft tries conceded. We haven’t fully revealed our hand as yet. We haven’t played at full throttle and we’re going to need to [on Saturday].”South Africa also won all of their three matches with world sevens player of the year Werner Kok scoring two tries in their opening 33-7 win over Samoa.
Last year's leading try-scorer Seabelo Senatla also impressed, ending the day with six tries in the Blitzboks' victories over Russia, Samoa and Scotland.
England also enjoyed a 100-per cent record, sealed by a 21-5 victory over Australia in the final game of the day.
In the women's event, Australia beat Russia 33-12.
“That was an epic final and to play in front of such a crowd in Dubai was absolutely sensational,” said Australian captain Shannon Parry as she looked forward to the Olympic Games debut for rugby sevens in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.