New Zealand retain Hong Kong 7s title
by Huw Turner
April 1, 2001

World Cup winners New Zealand bounced back from the disappointments of the last World Series tournament in Wellington to record a comfortable victory over perennial rivals Fiji, 29-5, in the final in Hong Kong.

This was a real triumph for the young New Zealand side , and in particular veteran coach Gordon Tietjens and inspirational skipper Karl Te Nana. Earlier he had brought the New Zealanders back from the brink of semi final defeat to floor Australia with two improbably late tries to set up yet another final meeting between the old foes.

However, the final turned out to be a very one-sided affair, New Zealand scoring all their points in the first half. The Fijians seemed off the pace and easily dispirited once the kiwis got their noses in front. In a procession of try scoring, Chris Masoe got the first, Jared Going the second and fifth, Reid the third and Leo'o the fourth.

Fiji could not cope as their opponents held on to possession patiently until the gaps eventually opened up. When the Fijians did get their hands on the ball they found themselves confronted by ferocious and determined tacklers. In contrast , much of the Fijian tackling was half-hearted and ineffectual.

The second half was an anti-climax, the Fijians realizing they had no show of catching the New Zealanders, who were content to play the percentages and run the clock down . Matakasa scored a very late consolation for the Fijians who were well beaten long before the end of the match.

New Zealand now go back into the lead of the IRB World Sevens Series and will eagerly anticipate next weekend's round in Shanghai.

Fiji - Try: Jovesa Matakasa

New Zealand - Tries: Chris Masoe, Jared Going 2, Hayden Reid, John Leo'o; Conversions: Damian Karauna 2

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