NZ take Hong Kong title

2014-03-30 14:22
New Zealand (AFP Photo)

Hong Kong -New Zealand brushed aside England 26-7 to win the Hong Kong Sevens and reclaim top spot in the overall standings in the IRB Sevens World Series, Sunday.

The All Blacks Sevens, the defending World Series champions, won its third tournament this season in fine style, running four tries past a hapless England to claim their 11th Cup Championship in Hong Kong and first since 2011.

First-half tries from Ben Lam and Tim Mikkelson gave New Zealand a 12-0 lead but England hit back just before the break when Tom Powell burst through to touch down from a quickly taken tap penalty to reduce the deficit to just five points.

But evergreen captain DJ Forbes who had a huge impact on the final day with his bustling play at the breakdown, quickly put New Zealand back in command, stretching the lead after receiving a huge cut-out pass from Sherwin Stowers to score uncontested.

"We were given a lesson by England last week (in Tokyo) but here we are on the podium. It feels good to win in Hong Kong again," said an elated Forbes.

Despite a second try by Lam being overturned, and the winger being sin-binned for an off-the-ball offence, the men in black had too much firepower and sub Sam Dickson sealed victory with his side's fourth try.

The victory allowed New Zealand to regain the lead from South Africa who had entered the Hong Kong Sevens holding a two point lead. With two more legs remaining in Scotland and England in May, New Zealand top the standings with 136 points, seven points ahead of South Africa who stumbled badly after losing in the Cup quarterfinals to England, 14-7.

Fiji are third on 112 while England fourth on 105.

England had booked their berth in the Cup final with a 17-7 victory over Fiji in the semi-final. Fiji had looked impressive in the run-up and seemed on course for back-to-back title as after winning in Tokyo last week but came unstuck against a disciplined English side.

New Zealand's path to the final was a 28-5 win over Wales in the quarterfinals followed by a 19-7 victory over trans-Tasman rivals Australia.

Japan became the first Asian team to win a core team spot on the World Series when it won the qualifying tournament defeating Italy 26-5. Japan will play in the remaining two legs this season in Scotland and England, and all nine legs in the World Series next season.

Read more on:    blitzbokke  |  england  |  new zealand  |  irb sevens  |  rugby

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