By Michael Pavitt

New Zealand fresh from winning their home series progressed to the quarter finals in Las Vegas ©World RugbyFiji, New Zealand, South Africa and hosts United States secured quarter-final spots after the first day of the latest leg of the HSBC 
Sevens World Series, held in Las Vegas.

The US team have qualified for the last eight stage the previous two times that the series has visited Las Vegas and began their 2015 campaign in confident mood against Japan.

They stamped their authority on the contest, racing into a 26-0 halftime lead and added a further 26 points in the second half for a 52-12 victory.

The win was made more impressive by the spread of try scorers across the US team, as eight different players went over the Japanese line throughout the match, with only Carlin Isles ending the match with more than one try.

But their second fixture of the day was a much tighter affair, but a 19-7 win over Portugal secured the host's progress from the pool.

They will face off against South Africa for the right to top the pool after the Dubai and South Africa leg winners were successful in dispensing of the challenge of Japan and Portugal.

The Series leaders cruised past Japan 42-5 and prevented Portugal from scoring in a 19-0 victory, as they showed their rivals that they could be the team to beat.

Pool A saw New Zealand and Fiji, second and third in the overall standings, seal quarter-final positions after the opening day of fixtures.

Fiji will face New Zealand for the right to top Pool A ©World RugbyFiji will face New Zealand for the right to top Pool A ©World Rugby

New Zealand, buoyed from winning the Wellington Sevens title on home turf, will now go head to head with Fiji or the right to progress to the last eight as winners of their pool, as both sides won matches against Samoa and Wales.

Although half the positions in the quarter-finals have already been secured after day one, everything remains up for grabs in Pool B.

Argentina, Canada, England and Kenya all tied on four points after a win and a defeat apiece, with Kenya's dramatic 22-21 victory over Canada looking likely to prove a vital result in the pool.

All four teams will head into their final match of the stage knowing that victory will seal their progress as Argentina, currently top of the group on points difference, will face Canada, while England and Kenya will also do battle.

Kenya's narrow 22-21 victory over Canada could prove vital in a tight Pool C ©World RugbyKenya's narrow 22-21 victory over Canada could prove vital in a tight Pool C ©World Rugby

Australia's progression from Pool D is a far clearer cut proposition after they secured opening day victories in their two matches, including a comprehensive 45-0 triumph over Brazil.

The Wallabies know that if they avoid a colossal defeat to second-placed Scotland that they will be assured of their progress.

For Scotland, fourth placed finishers at the last leg in Wellington, victory over Australia could prove essential to their hopes of progression in Las Vegas.

They currently sit above France on points difference but France will face Brazil in their final match aiming to leapfrog the Scottish team in the pool.

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