All Blacks pip England to Wellington 7s title
February 7, 2003

England lost out 38-26 to hosts New Zealand in a thrilling final of the Wellington round of the IRB world sevens.

England led twice but were eventually pegged back in a match which featured 10 tries, evenly split between the halves.

Perhaps the crucial act came three minutes from the end when English captain Simon Amor was sent to the sin bin for a shoulder charge, New Zealand having just taken the lead 31-26.

Any chance of a repeat of England's win in Brisbane last weekend went with Amor - and when Anthony Tuitavaki scored a minute later New Zealand finally won their own title after four attempts.

Roy Kinikinilau and Nathaniel Walker were the outstanding players for New Zealand, the side brilliantly marshalled by veteran captain Eric Rush.

England were in better heart than in their 24-0 loss to New Zealand but could not match the collective effort they produced in Australia's tropics a week ago.

Kinikinilau scored twice in the first spell, showing great strength on both occasions - while Henry Paul was again decisive in midfield, one 70-metre break graphic evidence of his enormous talent.

From a 17-14 half-time deficit England took the lead twice in the first three minutes of the second half, at 19-17 and again at 26-24.

With five minutes remaining the final result was a lottery - but Amor's frustration as Tafai Ioasa scored his second try was the determining factor.

England coach Joe Lydon said: "The boys played with a lot of heart, a lot of guts, and they contributed to a fine game.

"It wasn't hard to come back from last night's loss. They built gradually today, and I'm proud of their effort."

Results from Day 1 of the Wellington 7s.

13:00 South Africa 26-5 USA
13:22 Samoa 26-0 Cook Islands
13:44 Fiji 35-19 Canada
14:06 France 33-0 Niue
14:28 Australia 26-5 Japan
14:50 Argentina 36-5 China
15:12 New Zealand 31-5 Tonga
15:34 England 49-0 PNG
15:56 South Africa 63-0 Cook Islands
16:18 Samoa 47-0 USA
16:40 Fiji 50-0 Niue
17:02 France 19-12 Canada
17:24 Australia 34-0 China
17:46 Argentina 31-12 Japan
18:08 New Zealand 57-7 PNG
18:30 England 28-17 Tonga
18:52 USA 26-12 Cook Islands
19:14 Canada 29-12 Niue
19:36 Japan 33-7 China
19:58 Tonga 40-21 PNG
20:50 South Africa 21-21 Samoa
21:12 Fiji 29-14 France
21:34 Australia 28-14 Argentina
21:56 New Zealand 24-0 England

Day Two: 8 February
Time Team vs Team
Bowl quarterfinals
13:00 Tonga 14-20 Cook Islands
13:22 Canada 38-0 China
13:44 Japan 0-25 Niue
14:06 USA 28-7 PNG
Cup quarterfinals
14:33 New Zealand 21-19 Samoa
14:55 Fiji 26-5 Argentina
15:17 Australia 24-7 France
15:39 South Africa 7-17 England
Shield semifinals
16:10 Tonga 41-0 China
16:32 Japan 29-7 PNG
Bowl semifinals
16:54 Cook Islands 5-31 Canada
17:16 Niue 20-17 USA
Plate semifinals
17:38 Samoa 17-14 Argentina
18:00 France 22-12 South Africa
Cup semifinals
18:35 New Zealand 24-22 Fiji
19:00 Australia 15-21 England
Shield final
19:30 Tonga 29-26 Japan
Bowl final
20:00 Canada 47-5 Niue
Plate final
20:30 Samoa 39-5 France
Cup final
21:00 New Zealand 38-26 England

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