NZ face England in final

2013-06-30 17:19
DJ Forbes (Gallo Images)

Mascow - The All Blacks will play England in the final of the Rugby World Cup Sevens on Sunday as torrential rain played havoc with ball-handling on the pitch in Moscow.

Gordon Tietjens' All Blacks team have dominated the IRB World Series Sevens, winning 11 of the 14 titles on offer, but last won the World Cup in 2001.

Their semi-final against Fiji was suspended for around one hour because of a massive thunder storm over the Luzhniki Stadium.

New Zealand were leading Fiji 12-0 at the time, just before half-time, thanks to tries from Tim Mikkleson and captain DJ Forbes, when claps of thunder echoed around the stadium and bolts of lightning lit up the darkened sky.

Torrential rain followed, and South African referee Marius van der Westhuizen was left with no option other than to usher the two teams back into the changing rooms.

The thunder passed, rain continued to teem but the game resumed, Bryce Heem crossing for a third try, the All Blacks blanking the Fijians in the second-half.

England beat Kenya 12-5 in the second semi-final, played in similarly atrocious conditions.

Try-machine Dan Norton crossed for a first-half brace, but Kenya pulled back a five-pointer in a second period dominated, unusually for the abbreviated game, by kicking tactics.

When Willy Ambaka broke down the left wing with the hooter just about to sound, Norton was on hand to bring his man down, the ball was scrambled away and the English were through.

The All Blacks despatched Wales, unlikely outsiders who clinched victory in Dubai four years ago against odds of 80/1, in the quarter-finals.

"It wasn't meant to be," said Wales captain Lee Williams, the sole survivor from the squad that won in 2009.

"Utterly disappointing that game was there for us, but errors cost us."

Fiji had produced a display of extremely aggressive defence to batter South Africa into a 12-10 defeat.

The South Africans had not conceded a point in pool play, during which their exciting runners had been the highlight, but influential captain Kyle Brown was ruled out of the quarter after copping a two-match ban for foul play.

But the Fijians hit hard and dominated the breakdown, although Cecil Afrika missed a conversion from wide out that would have pushed the game into extra-time.

"It is another disappointing World Cup for us," admitted South Africa coach Paul Treu. "It is a pity we couldn't do it for South Africa and Madiba (former president Nelson Mandela who is in critical condition in hospital), that is why we wanted to win this tournament, but it wasn't meant to be."

In the women's competition, New Zealand will play Canada in the Cup final, defending champions Australia having paid the price for an injury to key playmaker Tiana Penitani in suffering a shock 14-10 defeat by Spain in the quarter-final.

Read more on:    england  |  new zealand  |  sevens world cup  |  rugby

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