Kiwis claim another title
Sun, 30 Jun 2013 11:12
Rain interruption can't stop All Blacks
New Zealand added the World Cup Sevens title to their World Series crown in Moscow on Sunday.
Mixing superior tactical nous with hard-nosed defence and fleet-footed attack, the Kiwis whitewashed England 33-0 in the Final of the Cup competition.
Gordon Tietjens' All Blacks team have dominated the IRB World Series Sevens, winning 11 of the 14 men's titles on offer, but last won the World Cup in 2001.
However, they put England to the sword in the final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, running in five tries to none as they took advantage of the tactically poor English kicking game in wet, muddy conditions.
Tim Mikkelson (2), Gillies Kaka, veteran playmaker Tomasi Cama and replacement Waisake Naholo all crossed the whitewash, Cama bagging three conversions and Kaka a fourth.
England were underpowered in the face of an aggressive All Black team happy to slow the game down and play for territorial advantage.
Ben Ryan's team were pushed into resorting to a deep kicking game that played exactly into New Zealand hands. Rarely for the abbreviated game, there was a full minute of aerial ping-pong, which drew boos and jeers from the crowd.
"The conditions were hard, we thought we were playing cricket for a minute, getting rained out in the semis," said All Black captain DJ Forbes.
"But they were tough, we stuck to our guns though and came out with the win. This is huge, for some of us the last Rugby World Cup we play."
Coach Tietjens added: "It is awesome, a long time between drinks since 2001. We started slowly but we got that buzz going today.
"We won the World Series and have backed it up here which we haven't won since 2001. A lot of pressure on one tournament, but to get up the way we did, was great."
New Zealand 33-0 England
Fiji 29-5 Kenya
Samoa 12-19 Canada
Russia 29-5 Japan
With play in the semifinals having been suspended for an hour, as a result of a thunderstorm, New Zealand won their interrupted match against Pacific rivals Fiji 17-0.
In the other semifinal it required a try-saving tackle from Dan Norton, with rain pouring down, in the final second as England secured a 12-5 win over crowd favourites Kenya.
New Zealand were leading Fiji 12-0 in the Cup semifinal when claps of thunder echoed around the Luzhniki Stadium and bolts of lightning lit up a darkened sky.
Torrential rain followed, and South African referee Marius van der Westhuizen was left with no option other than to usher the two teams back into the changing rooms.
The thunder passed, rain continued to teem but the game resumed, Bryce Heem crossing for a third try, the All Blacks blanking the Fijians in the second-half.
Gordon Tietjens' All Blacks team have dominated the IRB World Series Sevens, winning 11 of the 14 titles on offer, but last won the World Cup in 2001.
England beat Kenya 12-5 in the second semifinal, played in similarly atrocious conditions.
Try-machine Dan Norton crossed for a first-half brace, but Kenya pulled back a five-pointer in a second period dominated, unusually for the abbreviated game, by kicking tactics.
When Willy Ambaka broke down the left wing with the hooter just about to sound, Norton was on hand to bring his man down, the ball was scrambled away and the English were through.
Fiji 0-17 New Zealand
England 12-5 Kenya
Samoa 21-14 Argentina
Scotland 7-21 Canada
Uruguay 0-38 Russia
Georgia 21-24 Japan
Earlier Fiji edged South Africa 12-10 in a dramatic quarterfinal, while New Zealand overpowered defending champions Wales 26-10.
In the other quarterfinals England and Kenya beat Australia (21-17) and France (24-19) respectively.
The All Blacks Sevens cruised into a 26-5 lead, before Wales got a late consolation try to give some credibility to their performance.
However, the defending champions were knocked out after being well beaten.
Fiji completely outmuscled the error-prone BlitzBokke in the scrums and in the contact area, with the Pacific Islanders' size, power and pace simply too much for the South Africans.
The BlitzBokke could have caused a surprise with a late rally, but goal-kicking let them down - with a single conversion being the difference.
South Africa, who did not concede a single point in pool play, obviously missed the presence of captain Kyle Brown - who was slapped with six-match ban for attacking the face of an opponent in their final pool match against Scotland.
Brown appeared before judicial officer Jeremy Summers (England) on Saturday, after being cited by citing commissioner Yann Le Dore (France) for contact with the eye(s) or eye area in breach of Law 10.4(m).
He was initially banned for six matches, but the ban was later reduced to two matches following the appeal.
The other quarterfinals also produced plenty of drama.
Despite some amazing defence from France, Willy Ambaka broke through for a late try to secure Kenya's spot in the semifinals.
Australia had a chance of a late winner, but great defence by England denied them.
BlitzBok coach Paul Treu expressed disappointment after his team was knocked out.
"It is another disappointing World Cup for us," Treu said.
"The guys left everything out there, they played with their hearts. It is a pity we couldn't do it for South Africa and Madiba, that is why we wanted to win this tournament, but it wasn't meant to be.
"But I have a lot of respect for these players and this will be a great learning opportunity for them and just to take it into their careers and this Sevens team can dominate for many years to come."
Welshman Lee Williams said "it wasn't meant to be", after the defending champions were knocked out by New Zealand.
"A lot of errors came into our game, same as the two yesterday [Saturday]," Williams said.
"Utterly disappointing that game was there for us, but errors cost us. We will take a lot from it though. It's been an up and down season, highs like Hong Kong, and hoping to repeat our success of four years ago but it wasn't meant to be.
"Considering our team four years ago, our squad this time is much more experience. We felt if we played our best we could retain the title but it wasn't mean to be."
All the results!
South Africa 10-12 Fiji
New Zealand 26-10 Wales
England 21-17 Australia
Kenya 24-19 France
Samoa 26-17 Zimbabwe
Argentina 28-5 United States
Scotland 17-0 Portugal
Canada 10-0 Tonga
Tunisia 7-12 Uruguay
Russia 17-7 Spain
Hong Kong 10-31 Georgia
Japan 50-0 Philippines
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