NRL heavyweights crash out of Sevens - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL heavyweights crash out of Sevens

By Brent Read and Daniel Pace 01/02/2003 09:45:41 PM Comments (0)

NRL heavyweights Brisbane, the Sydney Roosters and Newcastle have been relegated to the Plate finals at the World Sevens as France won its group, Russia won over the crowd and Samoa became involved in a biting controversy yesterday.

The Roosters, Broncos and Newcastle started the sevens among the favourites, but were upset by South Sydney, Canberra, and Manly respectively in their pool matches.

Parramatta and Cronulla also won their groups to move into the Cup finals today, while France beat PNG and Samoa to put itself in elite company.

"It was one of the goals we set ourselves to win our first two games and we have done that," French player Jerome Guisset said.

"We're looking forward to tomorrow now. We're going to go as far as we can go."

The international performance was soured to a degree when Samoan player Aleki Toleafoa was banned for the remainder of the tournament for biting former Souths and Bulldogs halfback Darrell Trindall, playing for the NASCA Aboriginals.

But even that incident couldn't overshadow the performance of the Russians, who failed to win a match but showed how far the game had come in the developing nation by putting the wind up Souths and the Roosters.

They trailed 14-12 at halftime against Souths following two tries to the impressive Ralph Yakubov, but the Rabbitohs ran away with the game in the second half as Brisbane recruit Chris Walker put his speed on show.

"We thought it was going to be harder," said Yakubov, who scored three tries in Russia's two pool games yesterday.

The Roosters lost their opening game to the Rabbitohs 22-12 before beating Russia 28-8, but will head into today's Plate matches without halfback Craig Wing, who took a knock to his knee and is being wrapped in cotton wool ahead of the World Club Challenge against St Helens next month.

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