New Zealand take George 7s crown
December 11, 2004

New Zealand claimed the IRB George Sevens title with a 33-19 victory over Fiji in the tournament finale.

The win takes Gordon Tietjens side to joint top of the Series standings with England and Fiji.

"We knew it would be a tough match against the Fijians," said Kiwi skipper Liam Messam after the match, "but we soaked up pressure and broke well on the counter. I'm really pleased with the 'D' (defence), it was awesome."

New Zealand had secured their final place with a 28-14 over Argentina, back to something near their best, while Fiji made slightly harder work of the dogged English in beating them 19-12.

In the final, it was New Zealand who struck first, Hayden Reid going over under the posts after some full-throttle defence from flyer Sherwin Stowers had prevented Fiji taking a dashing lead. Josh Blackie then easily breached some flimsy defence to double the lead, and register his fifth try of the event. Anesi and Vakacegu then traded tries to make it 19-5 at half time.

In the second half the Fijians were again thwarted by outstanding defensive efforts by the Kiwis, who then once again broke up-field to score through Anesi, and Blackie shortly after. Nanuku pulled two back for Fiji, but the day belonged to Gordon Tietjens' men and Liam Messam it was who stepped up to receive the trophy.

In the final of the Plate competition hosts South Africa stormed to a strong start against Samoa and then survived continuous second half waves of pressure to hang on for a 12-7 win.

In the Bowl final Australia, who had beaten Scotland 26-24 in a cracking semi final, proved too strong for Canada, winning 38-12, largely thanks to four tries from flyer Nick Reily.

In the first final of the day, Portugal had again proved too strong for France to win the Shield.

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