All Blacks triumph over England in Cardiff 7s Final
June 1, 2002

New Zealand clinched their seventh World Sevens Series title with a 24-12 victory over England in the final of the Cardiff 7s.

No other team tested the Kiwis over two days like England did, and tonight's final could well have been a dress rehearsal for the Commonwealth Games rugby gold medal showdown in Manchester later this summer.

England made an impressive start, Paul Sampson chasing back to catch New Zealand speedster Joe Rokocoko when he looked clear, and then Gollings ran majestically deep into Kiwi territory, only for Sampson to knock on.

New Zealand were rattled by England's opening, but it was New Zealand who struck midway through a fast and furious first half.

This time, Sampson could not make up enough ground on Rokocoko, who just managed to evade the Wasps player's despairing lunge and register a try.

Chris Masoe was fortunate to avoid a yellow card for a high tackle on Sampson, but England did not lose momentum and Rob Thirlby tied things up through a 30-metre sprint.

England gave their all, yet New Zealand carved them open right on half-time when Craig De Goldi rounded off a sparkling move to collect a try which Amasio Valence converted for a 12-5 interval lead.

Chris Masoe added New Zealand's third try shortly after the restart, leaving England with a mountain to climb.

New Zealand knew they were virtually home and dry with a 12-point buffer, and the cup was guaranteed when Brad Fleming darted over for another touchdown which Valence converted.

Gollings raced over for a consolation England try, which he also converted, but once again the silverware belonged to New Zealand.

England reached their second final of the 2001/02 IRB series - they won the prestigious Hong Kong tournament in March - by outclassing Fiji 26-0.

The semi-final clash was a decider for third place overall this season, and England produced an outstanding display to triumph through tries from Sampson (two), Richard Haughton and Gollings, with Gollings also kicking three conversions.

Fiji, minus unavailable playmaker Waisale Serevi, proved no match for Phil Greening's team, lacking the creativity or flair to break down a superbly-organised defence.

England also kept a clean sheet during the quarter-final against Scotland, finishing 17-0 victors thanks to a Gollings double and an impressive Thirlby effort.

Scotland missed the presence of injured senior international Roland Reid, and could not counteract English pace out wide.

New Zealand conceded just seven points in brushing aside challenges during the knockout stages from France and Australia.

Quarter-final opponents France were crushed 47-7, while Australia also finished a distant second-best, losing 33-0 as New Zealand underlined their awesome all-round power.

South Africa, runners-up overall behind New Zealand, made a controversial quarter-final exit against Fiji.

The South Africans looked to have done enough, leading 21-19 during the closing seconds, but Irish referee Donal Courtney missed a blatant knock-on as Fiji launched one last desperate attack, and it led to a converted try which saw the South Sea Islanders home by two points.

The gulf between world rugby's leading sevens exponents was obvious to see for a second day Millennium Stadium crowd of around 5,000.

At various stages of the 44-game tournament, there were encouraging contributions from countries such as Ireland, Russia, Portugal and Canada, but the Commonwealth Games medal shake-up this summer looks as though it will be a five-horse race between New Zealand, England, South Africa, Fiji and Australia.

Wales at least ended a disappointing weekend's work by winning the shield and avenging their pool defeat against Russia.

Matthew Robinson and Ben Breeze both scored two tries, and there was also a touchdown for Emyr Lewis, while Arwel Thomas kicked three conversions as Wales triumphed 31-22.

But there was no joy for Ireland in the bowl final, as Argentina atoned for their surprise failure to reach the main competition last-eight by winning 40-24.

And in the plate final, South Africa overwhelmed France 40-0.

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - Azerbaijan GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Snooker - China Open
    Tennis - Miami Open