Samoa take Hong Kong Sevens

2010-03-28 14:23
Samoa celebrate (AFP)

Hong Kong - New Zealand collapsed after a perfect start to hand Samoa a 24-21 victory and the Hong Kong Sevens on Sunday in a repeat of the Las Vegas final to edge ahead in the IRB World Series.

The Kiwis, holders of nine previous Hong Kong titles, were unable to avenge their defeat to Samoa in the US in February, leaving the Pacific islanders to take the glory in a thrilling finale in front of a 40,000 capacity crowd.

New Zealand drew first blood with quick scores under the posts for Kurt Baker, the four-try star of the Kiwis' semi-final win, and were 14-0 up before Samoa had even touched the ball.

But the pre-tournament form team drew level at 14-14 by half-time with Simaika Mikaele forcing his way through from close range out wide to open Samoa's account.

Scoring machine Mikaele Pesamino broke through to touch down under the posts for the Samoans to hand them the initiative immediately after the break.

New Zealand could have levelled the tie again through DJ Forbes but Australian referee Andrew Lees missed what looked like an obvious off-the-ball foul on the veteran forward as he hared after his own up-and-under.

Pesamino seized the initiative for Samoa, breaking one tackle to score under the posts after taking the ball at speed in midfield, putting the Pacific islanders 24-14 ahead.

New Zealand weren't finished and replied under the posts with the last move of the game.

Hong Kong took the fourth-tier shield final to rapturous applause and a standing ovation, beating Russia 19-17.

Canada took the third-tier bowl while Australia won the consolation plate competition.

Samoa, who last won in Hong Kong in 2007, had held off England in the semi-finals 28-24.

New Zealand were also pushed to the limit against defending champions Fiji in a festival of running rugby which proved to be the most entertaining game of the competition.

Star of their semi-final was Baker, who crossed the line four times as the Kiwis edged the creative and powerful Fijians 33-28.

The showpiece is the sixth stop on the eight-leg Sevens World Series with further tournaments to come in England and Scotland.

Finals results:


Samoa 24, New Zealand 21


Australia 12, South Africa 5


Canada 35, Wales 19


Hong Kong 19, Russia 17



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