England down NZ in London Sevens final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

England down NZ in London Sevens final

25/05/2009 06:59:00 AM Comments (0)

England came back from 19-0 down to beat New Zealand 31-26 in extra time of the London Sevens final on Sunday to postpone South Africa winning a first sevens rugby world series crown.

South Africa would have earned the series championship if England had lost the final at Twickenham, but the English rallied in a thrilling final to win their home event for the first time since 2004 and put off South Africa's anticipated party until the last tournament of the season next weekend, the Edinburgh Sevens at Murrayfield.

South Africa, with a 20-point lead over England in the standings, need only reach the quarterfinals at Edinburgh to take the series.

"The title is South Africa's but at least we've taken them to the last week," England coach Ben Ryan said.

New Zealand, the two-time defending series champions who haven't won a tournament this season, rushed to 19-0 by halftime in the final through tries by Kurt Baker and a pair for Julian Savea.

But Uche Odouza, Micky Young and James Rodwell crossed in succession to pull England even.

Zar Lawrence dotted down for New Zealand to lead 26-19 but with seconds left, England replacement Dan Norton streaked to the posts and Ben Gollings converted to send the final into sudden death extra time.

At a five-metre scrum in front of the New Zealand line, England pushed New Zealand off the ball and scrumhalf Young darted to the blindside for the winning try in the left corner.

New Zealand eliminated South Africa 10-5 in a bruising semifinal. Solomon King and Baker scored within minutes bridging halftime for New Zealand, and Gio Aplon replied for South Africa.

England took out Scotland 26-12 after Scotland edged Portugal 22-21 in the quarterfinals.

Australia fell to England in the quarters 26-12, New Zealand downed Fiji 33-14 and South Africa defeated France 21-5.

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