New Zealand 7s finish with a flourish
Scrum.com
June 1, 2008

New Zealand saw off England 24-14 in a tense finale to defend their Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens title and end their IRB Sevens World Series defence on a high.

In a supremely physical match the kiwis went out to a commanding 19-0 lead through Solomon King, David Smith and Chad Tuoro but England hit back just before the break through giant wing Uche Oduoza to trail 19-7 and enjoyed much of the possession in the second half.

Ollie Phillips slipped a tackle to bring the score back to 19-14 but the kiwis' renowned fitness, conditioning and peerless defence saw them home with Nigel Hunt rounding out the scoring and selaing a 24-14 victory.

Captain DJ Forbes was once again an inspiration up front and the performances of Kendrick Lynn and David Smith showed that coach Gordon Tietjens has lost none of his knack for unearthing new talent.

With the clock winding down, Nigel Hunt put the game beyond doubt for New Zealand, who have now won eight of the nine IRB Sevens World Series titles under coach Gordon Tietjens.

England coach Ben Ryan commented, "We have done really well here at Murrayfield. Our quarter final performance against South Africa today was one of the best displays for a long time.

"We let the New Zealand game run away from us a little in the first-half, but we fought back in the second half and it could have gone either way.

"This is our first final this season and a lot of the process is about being used to finals. The boys have come on so much, 12 months ago when I took charge we got absolutely battered by New Zealand, so this shows how far we have come.

"England can be a real force next season, come the next World Series and the World Cup in Dubai England will hopefully be right up there at the top of the tree."

Earlier New Zealand produced a clinical and professional display to outclass Scotland 36-14, David Smith again impressive and Tomasi Cama scoring two of the six tries, while England overcame a tired looking South African side 10-0, Jack Adams and Kevin Barrett crossing for two unanswered tries.

The results also confirmed South Africa as the second placed team this season with 106 points behind New Zealand on 154, followed by Samoa on 100 points and then Fiji with 94.

Hosts Scotland won their first ever victory against Fiji - in the ninth minute of sudden death extra time - to reach the final of the Plate, but were outclassed by South Africa, 14-5.

The Boks recovered from the disappointment of a second consecutive Cup quarter final loss to take the Plate title and eight points to finish second in the 2007/08 Series.

Tries by Fabian Juries and Frankie Horne put Paul Treu's side 14-0 ahead and, although Andrew Turnbull pulled one back in the second half, Scotland were unable to take their chances against a resolute South African defence.

Earlier the Scots played out the game of the tournament against Fiji. With the Scots Leading 14-7 in the dying seconds of their Plate semi final, Fiji captain Marika Vunibaka found space in midfield and sprinted clear of the despairing Scotland defence to level at 14-14.

In sudden death extra time both sides had good chances to clinch victory, Jim Thompson making a superb tackle on the outstanding Setefano Cakau and Iliavi Satala denying Mike Adamson before Scotland worked space out wide to put in Ben Addison for the decisive score and send the Murrayfield crowd into mass hysteria.

Australia beat Canada in the final of the Bowl to take two series points in Bill Millard's final event as coach.

The Aussies led 19-0 at half time through tries by Peter Owens (2) and Tim Walsh before Afusipa Taumoepeau sprinted fully 60 metres to put the result beyond doubt in the second half. Neil Meechan scored two late consolation tries for the Canadians.

Earlier, Canada beat the Pumas of Argentina with Phil Mack's golden try in extra time after the Australians had beaten Portugal and then their Iberian neighbours Spain to make the final.

Tomaz Morais' hardworking Portuguese side finished the Scotland event and the season on a high, beating Claude Saurel's Russians 10-5 at he death after Sebastiao da Cunha slipped through some tired Russian tackling to score the winner.

Both sides now turn their attention to reaching the European qualifying final in Germany and then booking their places at next year's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai.

England's women won the Home Nations tournament at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, which was running alongside the final tournament in the IRB Sevens World Series.

The English side, coached by Simon Amor and Mike Friday, defeated Scotland 19-12 and 24-0 and Wales 42-5 and 31-10 to top the table and take the local bragging rights ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup Sevens for men and women.

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