IRB Sevens World Series
NZ thrash Australia to win Gold Coast Sevens
October 13, 2013
New Zealand's defence proved too hard to penetrate as they kept their line intact until the second day © Getty Images
Australia captain Ed Jenkins was left to rue what might have been after world champions New Zealand outlasted his undermanned outfit to win the Gold Coast rugby sevens title on Sunday.
After a gruelling semi-final win over South Africa which took two periods of sudden-death extra time, Australia went into the final two players light and were overrun by the classy Kiwis who claimed the final 40-19.
Former Gold Coast Titan Shannon Walker and in-form flyer Nick Malouf were both ruled out of the final under the IRB's new concussion guidelines, a decision which Jenkins felt hurt his team.
"They introduced a new concussion rule this year and it was the first time it has been tried out," Jenkins said.
"Walker was fine to go. To ask someone after they come off a 20-minute game how they're feeling, of course they're going to be exhausted.
"For him to be ruled out was a huge disappointment for us. He would have loved playing a cup final here on home soil and the same with Nick Malouf, who had a great tournament."
Jenkins, who was named man of the tournament following the final, helped Australia race to a 12-0 lead in the final at Skilled Park when he scored the opening try of the match.
But after that bright start, fatigue told as the Kiwis scored five unanswered tries to build an unassailable lead.
A late consolation to Cameron Clark added some gloss to the scoreline but it wasn't enough to prevent the New Zealanders, who didn't concede a point until the semi-finals, from winning on the Gold Coast for the first time after losing in the final to Fiji the past two years.
"We've always planned to start the series well," New Zealand captain DJ Forbes said. "To finally knock it on the head and start the tournament with a bang, hopefully is going to set us up for another big season."
In the minor competitions, the United States claimed the shield title, France took out the bowl and two-time defending champions Fiji had to settle for the plate after being eliminated by England in the quarter-finals.
England, who pushed New Zealand before falling 14-5 in the semi-finals, finished third after a comfortable win over South Africa in the third-fourth place playoff.
The next stop in the world series is the Dubai Sevens on November 29-30.