All Blacks win Durban 7s
November 19, 2001

After dominating proceedings all weekend the All Blacks had to rely on a last second conversion by Amasio Valance to break a 17-17 deadlock with a gallant Samoa in the final of the World Sevens
Series rugby tournament at the Absa Stadium in Durban Sunday.

The kick handed them a 19-17 victory to go with the title they won in Dubai last weekend.

But for the first time the All Blacks looked vulnerable after posting 196 points with only seven against in their previous matches.

The Samoans, who had a shocking tournament in Dubai, rocked their more fancied opponents by forcing them into numerous errors.

In the end it was three tries apiece with two conversions to one.

Samoa led for most of the match through tries to Uale Mai, Gaolo Elisara and Ilalio Toa with Mai getting the one conversion. The All Blacks tries went to Chris Masoe, Orene AI'I (man of the Series) and Eric Rush (pictured) with Valance kicking the winning points by way of two conversions.

Kenya and Namibia joined the teams on the winner's rostrum for an Africa double and Australia took the remaining trophy on offer.

Yet the local high spot was clearly the clash of the giants -- the mighty All Blacks and the Springboks -- in the first semi-final after their meeting in the final in the Dubai leg last weekend when the All Blacks won 45-7.

And it was another rout. The New Zealanders scored six tries against one -- their first points against them in the whole tournament.

But it was soon clear that there was to be no Springbok glory in Durban. Before the break AI'I had stretched the All Blacks lead to 21-0 as he thread his way through for two tries and three
conversions.

AI'I was back again for more at the start of the second half with his third try which he converted to make it 28-0 before Craig de Goldi outstripped everyone for the fifth unanswered try. A sixth
followed to the same man almost immediately.

The All Blacks finally conceded points but only after two players were yellow-carded -- Amasio Valence and Eric Rush -- with Brent Russell picking up a converted consolation try.

In the other semi-final Samoa outgunned England 24-7 with tries to Maurie Faasavalu, Gaolo Elisara and Ilalio Toa (2) against one by Nigel Simpson setting up the final against their old All Black foes.

Not even the sight of two nude female streakers who ran diagonally across the field during their match could inspire the Englishmen on this occasion.

The Shield Final was won by Kenya who beat Morocco 20-17 in an All-Africa final, the Bowl went to Namibia who beat Morocco 20-17 and the Plate was won by Australia with a 57-0 victory over Fiji. (Sapa)

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