Kiwis take sevens crown
June 6, 2004

England secured the London Sevens title at Twickenham with a 22-19 win over New Zealand but the All Blacks retained their IRB World Sevens Series title simply by reaching the last eight.

In front of a crowd of around 19,000 England conceded an early try but Rob Thirlby and Ben Gollings both scored tries to give England a 10-5 advantage at half-time.

England's lead was extended courtesy of a Henry Paul try early in the second half and although New Zealand responded quickly, England wrapped up the game when captain Simon Amor chipped the ball over the All Blacks defence to score and win the game despite a late score from New Zealand.

Ben Gollings converted one of the four tries to give England a 22-19 winning margin.

England coach Mike Friday said: "I'm so proud of everyone. All the players worked really hard over the last two weeks and so did all the backroom staff. There are some very battered bodies in that dressing room but we showed patience and control during the game and it paid off. I'm sure that both sides felt the effect of the last two tournaments but for us today it was all about mind over matter."

Rob Thirlby was joint top scorer in the overall series with South Africa's Fabian Juries, both scoring 35 tries.

England started their campaign to win the tournament yesterday with a closely-fought 12-7 win over Scotland. Comfortable wins against Italy (40-0) and France (40-7) ensured that England topped Group B and progressed to the quarter-finals where they faced Australia.

Friday's side beat Australia 14-5 with Pat Sanderson of Harlequins and Thirlby scored tries converted by Gollings.

England's semi-final opponents Fiji beat South Africa in their quarter-final courtesy of a late score but converted tries from Gollings in the first half and Thirlby in the second set up the final showdown with New Zealand.

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