Lomu hat trick takes New Zealand to World sevens crown
by Huw Turner
January 29, 2001

New Zealand became world sevens champions for the first time by outclassing Australia, 31-12, in today's final in Mar del Plata.

Jonah Lomu, used sparingly by coach Gordon Tietjens in the first two days of the competition, scored a scintillating hat trick of tries from the wing, the Australians having no answer to his power and pace. New Zealand's other star was Amasio Valence who, in Eric Rush's enforced absence, controlled the tactics and exploited the space created by the fear of Lomu out wide. Craig Newby and skipper for the day Karl Te Nana tackled tigerishly and in the end the kiwis were well in control.

Lomu made his intentions clear right from the start, a scorching break up the right wing leaving a trail of would-be tacklers in his wake.He quickly followed up with another on the left and Te Nana's conversion opened up a 12 points advantage. Australia stayed in the game through a Brendan Williams try, but television replays clearly showed he had bounced the ball, not grounded it.

12-7 ahead at the interval, New Zealand took complete control in the second half. Lomu quickly completed his hat trick, bursting through the middle to scatter the defence. Amasio Valence and Mils Muliaina added the fourth and fifth tries and sub Tim Donnelly scored an Australian consolation at the very end of the game.

There were emotional scenes at the end as the New Zealanders came together in prayer and to remember the contribution of absent skiper Eric Rush.

Australia : 12 ( tries : Williams and Donnelly, Huxley conversion ).

New Zealand : 31 (tries : Lomu (3), Valence, Muliaina, Te Nana and Valence (2) conversions.

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