Under the lights of a packed Hong Kong Stadium, crowd favourites England ended a fine first day at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens by beating South Africa 21-14 to take a welcome confidence boost into day two.
Trailing Fiji by only one point in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, South Africa were widely tipped to win the last match of the day but from the outset they faced a focused and disciplined England boosted by the fitness of captain Tom Mitchell and the return to form of Dan Norton.
Kenya signalled their intent early on with a powerful four-try win against Samoa and in the other match in the pool New Zealand came back from 17-0 against a Virimi Vakatawa-inspired France to win 19-17.
While England's heroics stole the headlines at the end of the day, Scotland's earlier 28-15 win against Russia means that they top the group ahead of England with the remaining pool matches to be played on day two.
Captain Ed Jenkins scored his 100th try and put in a star turn for the series' fourth-ranked team Australia as they enjoyed a resounding 28-0 win against Argentina. The season's fifth-placed side USA lies second in the pool after a 21-5 win against Portugal.
Semi Kunatani's converted try at the death got Fiji out of jail against Canada but their 19-17 win currently places them second in the pool behind Wales, who beat Korea 40-14.