By Michael Pavitt

Series leaders South Africa cruised to an opening day win over Argentina ©World RugbyUpsets were few and far between on the opening day of the HSBC Sevens World Series Hong Kong event, in which the favourites all recorded comfortable victories.

South Africa, currently top the overall standings with 93 points from the opening five legs of the nine leg series, enjoyed a straightforward 24-0 victory over Argentina in Pool C.

Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Kwagga Smith and Werner Kok ran in tries for South Africa, as they bid look to claim their first-ever win in the Hong Kong event, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. 

They were joined at the top of the pool by France, who secured a 24-7 triumph over Japan in their opening match.

Second placed New Zealand are attempting to reduce South Africa's five points lead in the Series standings and they enjoyed a positive start in Hong Kong by breezing past Scotland 26-7 in their first game in Pool B.

They are likely to face stiffer competition tomorrow when they face rivals Australia, who claimed five tries, which included a brace for Ed Jenkins, on their way to a 33-5 win against Portugal.

The 38,642 crowd were also treated to a clash between Pacific Island nations as Fiji, who won the previous leg of the series in Las Vegas, United States, overcame Samoa in Pool A.

The Fijian team took a 21-7 lead by halftime and built upon that platform in the second half, ending the match with seven tries and a 38-12 victory, while Canada secured a 28-12 win over Belgium in the other fixture in the pool.

Fiji overcame Samoa in a clash between the two Pacific Island nations ©World RugbyFiji overcame Samoa in a clash between the two Pacific Island nations ©World Rugby

England and the United States top the Pool D standings after they claimed victories in the final two matches of the opening day of the three day event at Hong Kong Stadium, due to conclude on Sunday (March 29). 

A 26-19 victory over Wales was the perfect start for the English team who are currently chasing Australia in the overall standings for the fourth and final Olympic qualification berth for Rio 2016.

The United States, meanwhile, came from 14-0 down at half time to claim a 21-14 over Kenya.

The second day of competition will see the teams compete in their two remaining pool matches, before the entire knock-out phase will take place on Sunday in what promises to be a a bumper day of rugby sevens action.

The event is set to break its own previous broadcast record.

With new live takers from France and Japan and even Lithuania, as well as the return of Fox Asia to the broadcasters group, the event will break the previous live and delayed record with 347 hours being shown live and delayed around the globe.

"It's been a tremendous opening day and the action has lived up to the billing at this historic 40th Hong Kong Sevens," said World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper.

"All of the competing teams have impressed and the fans have been treated to some exceptional sevens, and it is only going to get better from here."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]