Kiwis dominate in Durban
November 19, 2000

New Zealand claimed the first leg of the International Rugby Board World Sevens Series with a 34-5 win over Fiji in the final at Absa Stadium on Sunday.

They scored six tries in the final, three going to Joeli Vidiri, who ended with eight in the tournament. New Zealand led 19-5 at the break after Fiji had scored first.

Vidiri opened the scoring for New Zealand a couple of minutes later and added a second before teammate Dallas Seymour was poleaxed by Aliferati
Doviverata - highlighting the rivalry between the two teams at Sevens.

Further tries to Vidiri, Craig Newby, Jared Going and Amasio Valence sealed the win for the New Zealanders, who look a good bet to retain the title they won last year.

New Zealander Karl Te Nana was named Player of the Tournament and Richard Reece from Wales was the top scorer with nine tries.

Monsoon rains in Durban, however, ensured that the rugby was not going to be of the highest quality. Matches on Saturday had been played on a field that resembled a swimming pool but by Sunday - for the knockout phase - it was a mudbath.

After Saturday's group phase, New Zealand emerged as the side to watch and they lived up to their pre-tournament favourites' billing.

In the first quarterfinal, Canada faced the Blacks and to their credit put up a stiff showing before being downed by three tries to two, losing 21-12.

Argentina caused one of the biggest upsets of the day when their seesaw battle with Group D winners Samoa ended in victory for the Pumas by 17-14.

Fiji were subdued as they beat France 12-0. The conditions were obviously not to the liking of the islanders, although they progressed to the final. It was not the type of Sevens play that Fijian rugby has earned its almost mythical stature on.

In the last of the Cup quarterfinals, South Africa lost by a converted try against Australia, the No 3 seeds. The score was 19-12 to the
Wallabies.

In the Bowl quarterfinals, for the teams placed third and fourth in the groups, Portugal beat Kenya 10-0. England's woeful tournament continued as they lost 10-7 to Georgia.

Morocco were too powerful for Zimbabwe, beating them 22-5 in an all-Africa clash. Wales became the fourth semi-finalists with a 12-7 win over Namibia.

New Zealand powered into the final with a thumping 40-0 triumph over Argentina, while Fiji squeaked in 10-5 over Australia.

Samoa ended Canada's good run with a 35-7 win in the Plate semi-final and South Africa saw off France 15-0. There were tries for Herman Mostert, Andre Pretorius and Fabian Juries.

In the Bowl semi-finals, Portugal outlasted Georgia to win 19-12 and Wales ousted Morocco 22-7.

South Africa won the Plate final, beating Samoa 22-12, exacting revenge for their pool stage loss. There were tries for Johan Calitz, Paul Treu, Warren Britz and Helgard Brink.

Portugal won the Bowl final with a thrilling last-minute try to defeat Wales 26-24.

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