NZ wins South Africa Sevens - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZ wins South Africa Sevens

13/12/2009 10:05:17 AM Comments (0)

New Zealand beat Fiji 21-12 in the South Africa Sevens rugby final on Saturday to sweep the first two events in the world series.

New Zealand, the series' most successful team in the past decade, hadn't won a tournament in 18 months until last weekend in the Dubai season-opener.

By winning the first two legs and heading into its home event in February, New Zealand was on track to win the series for a ninth time in 11 years.

"Certainly a big change from last year, not winning a single tournament," New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens said.

"To turn around and win Dubai and then South Africa here was way above my expectations and I've got to take my hats off to the guys.

"We might not have played that well in this tournament, but it was winning rugby."

Ben Souness' converted try put New Zealand up 7-0 at the break and captain DJ Forbes crossed 95 seconds afterward to help make it 14-0. Osea Kolinisau replied for Fiji, but Save Tokula's converted try in the 17th minute after sustained pressure ensured New Zealand of the win.

Second-half replacement William Ryder touched down for Fiji in injury time.

Earlier on finals day, New Zealand squeaked past England 22-19 in the quarter-finals and Kenya 17-14 in the semi-finals.

New Zealand overcame a 19-5 halftime deficit against England, scoring three tries in the second half and shutting out the English. The Kiwis also trailed Kenya at halftime, 14-12, then Zar Lawrence again notched the winning try, the only points in the second half.

Fiji eliminated host and defending champion South Africa 21-17 in the quarter-finals, then came back from 14-0 down after only five minutes against Argentina to win 19-14, with a try in the last minute of regulation time to Pio Tuwai, later named player of the tournament.

In the other quarter-finals, Kenya beat Australia 24-12 and Argentina won 26-19 against Samoa, the Dubai runner-up which beat New Zealand on Friday in pool play.

England added to South Africa's woes by winning their plate final 21-7. A severely depleted South Africa, last season's series champion, was eighth in the standings.

World Cup champion Wales was pushed hard to win the bowl final 14-5 from ever-improving Russia, and Scotland took home the shield.

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