England down Kenya in pulsating final

17:58, Feb 02 2013
Wellington Sevens
Levi Asifa'amatala of Samoa charges forward during the Pool C match between Samoa and South Africa.
Wellington Sevens
Adam Thomas of Wales scores a try in the tackle of Nathan Hirayama of Canada.
Wellington Sevens
Frankie Horne of South Africa runs the ball.
Wellington Sevens 2013 rugby action
ama Fou of Australia runs into score during the Pool D match between Portugal and Australia.
Wellington Sevens 2013 rugby action
Duarte Moreira and Pedro Bettencourt of Portugal secure the ball during the Pool D match between Portugal and Australia.
New Zealand Sevens
RUNAWAY: Mat Turner of England makes a break past the defence of Tomasi Cama of New Zealand on his way to scoring a try.
New Zealand Sevens
New Zealand's DJ Forbes is tackled by England's Tom Powell.
New Zealand Sevens
New Zealand's Kurt Baker is tackled by England's Marcus Watson.
Belgium Tuatagaloa
Belgium Tuatagaloa of the All Blacks Sevens makes a break during the Pool A match between New Zealand and Spain.
Belgium Tuatagaloa
New Zealand's Ben Lam in action in their game with Australia.
Belgium Tuatagaloa
New Zealand's Ben Lam in action fends off an Australian attack.
Belgium Tuatagaloa
New Zealand's Lote Raikabula tackles Australia's Martin Chiappeson.
Belgium Tuatagaloa
New Zealand's Ben Lam in action.
Belgium Tuatagaloa
New Zealand's Ben Lam is tackled by Australia's Pama Fou.
Kenya
Kenya celebrate after defeating New Zealand in the Cup semifinal.
DJ Forbes
A dejected New Zealand sevens team, led by captain DJ Forbes, trudge off Westpac Stadium after losing to Kenya in the semifinal.

If ever there was victory in defeat it belonged to Kenya after they finally succumbed to England in extra-time of a gripping final at the Wellington Sevens.

The scoreboard read England 24, Kenya 19 after Sam Edgerley ended a battle of wills to grab his country's second New Zealand title.

England were worthy champions, but the hearts of the crowd will long belong to Kenya who had the 30,000-strong throng riding every pass, tackle and fumble of the final. 

Wellington Sevens 2013: Costumes
Costumed Sevens fans, left to right, Shaun Blaygrove, Craig Cogan, Andrew Robinson, and Alistair Henwood.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Costumes
Tui cans and a breathalyzer, left to right, Matt Lewis, Sam Phillips, Damien Cameron, Andrew Cameron, and Pete Rathod.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Costumes
Costumed Sevens fans hit the city early.
Wellington Sevens costume
Dressed as Patrick and Spongebob Squarepants are, from left, Sue and Paul Smith from Nelson.
Wellington Sevens costume
A group of Fruit Bursts leaving for the Sevens.
Wellington Sevens costume
Kylie Achilles and Travers Hart arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Simon and Charlotte McGillen arrive at Westpac Stadium, dressed as anime characters Goku and Sailor Moon.
Wellington Sevens costume
The Avengers, or at least, an Iron Man and two Captain Americas.
Wellington Sevens costume
Aaron Coxon, Krishan Roy, Bashneel Narayan, Sandeep Kumar, and Raajal Nand arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Travis Leippi and Frank Keating arrive at Westpac Stadium in two of the more common costume varieties.
Wellington Sevens costume
Sean Moss and Jason Tinker barely squeeze into Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Abbie and Tom Featherston reenact the famous V-J Day photo as they arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
A group of Sherrifs arrive, determined to clean up the place.
Wellington Sevens costume
A group of Care Bears arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Sevens fans arrive at Westpac Stadium in Zebra-based costumes.
Wellington Sevens costume
A group of iPod Nanos arrive at Westpac Stadium, complete with earbuds.
Wellington Sevens costume
A blue mass of Sullys from the film Monsters Inc arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Thomas Brown of Inglewood arrives at Westpac Stadium as a Shuttlecock. Wrong sport!
Wellington Sevens costume
Tim Burton fans Darren Ainsley and Fraser Smith arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
No, this isn't an intricate group costume, it's the police presence on the Westpac Stadium concourse.
Wellington Sevens costume
Iron Man Alexis Banas and Captain America Paul Anderson, of both Auckland and The Avengers.
Wellington Sevens costume
Once again, some big babies arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
The Harlem Globetrotters arrive at Westpac Stadium, ready to play the wrong type of ball.
Wellington Sevens costume
Critics call Sevens fans "mindless" all the time, but we doubt this is what they had in mind.
Wellington Sevens costume
Whacky Waving Inflatable Arm-flailing Tubemen, along with some runners.
Wellington Sevens costume
Di Clarke and Al Cameron bring some comic-book fun to Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Geoff and Nathaniel Moug arrive as twin Mr. Potato Heads.
Wellington Sevens costume
A group of Oommpa Loommpa's arrive.
Wellington Sevens costume
Loren, Paula and Holly Collins arrive as a group of Ariels from The Little Mermaid.
Wellington Sevens costume
The "Bathtub Girls" arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Snow Globes from all over the world arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Kelly Miller, Laura Nolan, Cat Scannell, Bayley Paukau, Teresa O'Neil and Helena Reynolds of Wales arrive as Trolls.
Wellington Sevens costume
Iron Men, or two Iron Mans, arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
A school of clown fish arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Exit Signs Stanley Clark and Morgan Tiibin.
Wellington Sevens costume
Mayans arrive, postponing the apocalypse till Sunday.
Wellington Sevens costume
A group of Nadzeya Ostapchuks arrive.
Wellington Sevens costume
The 'Hottie Scotties' get a little cheeky.
Wellington Sevens costume
Brooke Johnson, Jaala Goodwin, Lara Bird, Katrina Carter, and Erin Murphy arrive on the concourse, Disney style.
Wellington Sevens costume
Levin Scrabble pieces arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Emma Hickey, Caitlin De Charmoy, Shannon Mayhew, Marion Kennedy and Victoria Wallace arrive as piñatas, we assume.
Wellington Sevens costume
Quick! Get Mark Shand and Katie Martin on TradeMe.
Wellington Sevens costume
A Sevens fan inside Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
A group of Luigis are invaded by an Elmo.
Wellington Sevens costume
Traffic lights ask us to stop inside Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens costume
Clowning around inside Westpac Stadium.
Sevens Swat Team
SWAT team members from left, Glen Whitton, Rob McQuilkin and Anthobny Statham had to leave their imitation firearms at the gate.
Sevens Nerds
Revenge of the nerds.
Crowd at the Wellington Sevens
Crowd at the Wellington Sevens, Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Lizi Oldham and Kylie Crisp arrive at Westpac Stadium as 50 Shades of Grey.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Dominion Post General Manager Gerard Watt strutting his stuff.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Mark O'Connor and Kent Stead arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Terry and May Moore plug in to the Sevens.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Carl Johnson, Alex Macek, Rory Milne, and Joel Baker arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Rubix Cubes Jordan Gove and Ashley Clarke.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Maria Misehka and Manuel Porcel arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Kathy Tipler and Chris Parkin bring some elegant refinement into the Sevens.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Anna Riddler, Kelly Morrison, and Moana McRae arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Simon Wood and son Reuben arrive.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
¡Hola! A group of wrestlers arrive.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Kevin Stevens is more than just a man.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
The Sandwich Crew arrive at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the stadium.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Priscilla Iain Hay and his sister Jennifer Hay arrive.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Steve Morgan arrives as Winston Peters.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
The Pavlova Girls, from left, Jess Hunt, Penny Gambitsis, and Natacha Sanguinett.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
The Little White Lies inside the stadium.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Four rarities party inside the stadium.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Sasha Wycherley gives Maggie MacLean a mean right hook, sparring ahead of the Sevens.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Speed cameras (we assume) party within Westpac Stadium.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
We feel you, sister, we feel you.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
Edward Scissorhands wants YOU!
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
The Ooompa Loompas went a little crazy once they were freed.
Wellington Sevens 2013: Day two
A fan attempts to match his seat colour at the Wellington Sevens.
Snow Globes
Gemma Easton(paris) leads the Snow Globes onto the turf after winning the Supreme Award of the DomPost Costume Competition.

Even when twice reduced to six men due to yellow cards, the Kenyans managed somehow to will themselves to make tackles during regular time as they clung to a 19-12 lead.

The fairytale seemed it would come true when an English player fumbled the ball as he lunged for the line near fulltime.

It wasn't to be as Andrew Amonde and Oscar Ouma were sinbinned during the second half armwrestle to keep Kenya undermanned.

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Christian Lewis-Pratt, one of the players of the tournament, scored to force the match into golden point extra time to the boos of the crowd.

It was England's first title in Wellington since they beat New Zealand 19-17 in 2009 and in Mat Turner, Lewis-Pratt, Dan Norton and Macus Watson they had an impressive roster in 2013.

At the final whistle Kenyan defenders lay scattered across the park like the debris blown out of the stands by the Wellington wind.

They had given everything and so had a tournament that gets criticised for being too heavy on the party in the stands, but in reality mirrors its enjoyment and drama on the field almost every year.

The final delivered in spades - Norton and Lewis-Pratt opening up a 12-0 lead before Horace Otieno, then respective quarter-final and semifinal heroes Ouma and Willy Ambaka, scored to make it 19-12 at halftime.

The next 25 minutes will live long in the memory and went a long way to erasing any disappointment in the stands at New Zealand's earlier exit at the hands of Kenya in the semifinal.

*****

Earlier, New Zealand beat Samoa to claim third place.

Belgium Tuatagloa scored the only try in the first half of the playoff to give New Zealand a 5-0 halftime lead.

They then made sure of a third place finish in the second-half thanks to two tries from Hawke's Bay flier Gillies Kaka.

Samoa could only manage one try of their own to give New Zealand a comfortable 17-7 win. 

*****

In semifinals New Zealand were dumped out of their home tournament by a jubilant Kenya in a dramatic 19-14 extra time semifinal loss.

Ouma was the hero for the popular African minnows when he shrugged off local boy Tuatagaloa to score a try that momentarily silenced the capacity crowd.

The defending champions showed signs of shaking their first day malaise when they beat Australia 26-5 in their quarterfinal, but never really looked convincing.

Errors and a lack of effectiveness at the breakdown continued to haunt New Zealand, but they looked to have advanced to the final after leading Kenya 14-0 at halftime.

The lead was halved when Ouma scored his first after the break and then disappeared when veteran Collins Injera ran in under the posts on the stroke of full time, Biko Adema's conversion tying the scores.

There was the hint of a knock on, but Kenya didn't care and seized their chance when they gained possession at a ruck and broke free.

New Zealand scrambled desperately but couldn't stop Ouma, who was swamped by his ecstatic teammates as though he had won the World Cup.

Kenya could not be more deserving finalists having earlier come from behind to beat South Africa 21-20 in a pulsating quarterfinal.

Tietjens trusted his senior men to deliver in both the quarter and semifinals with Gillies Kaka, who replaced the injured Kurt Baker (hamstring), the only starting change from day one.

And against Kenya, Tuatagaloa was the only substitute in regulation time. Luke Masirewa and David Raikuna came on for the golden point, but it was too little too late.

There are sure to be questions asked about the form of New Zealand's senior players although Tomasi Cama who looked to be coming into form.

He scored the first try of the semifinal, then kicked the wide conversion, repeating the feat when Tim Mikkelson crossed for the second.

It seemed unfortunate the capacity crowd had finally taken their seats en-masse 40 matches into the tournament only to see their heroes bow out, ending their hopes of a three-peat of titles.

The English advanced to the final in a dramatic 21-19 win over Samoa in the first semifinal.

Australian referee Matt O'Brien was a central figure after sending influential play maker Alatasi Tupou to the sin bin for a no arms charge two minutes into the second half.

At that stage the match was poised at 14-12 in England's favour and though Samoa did what they could to hold possession, they eventually buckled with Marcus Watson diving over to make it 21-12.

Samoa struck back through Lio Lolo who quickly converted his own try to set up what turned out to be a tense and slightly confusing finish.

The match appeared to end after England had delayed a tap penalty in order to run out the clock and kicked the ball to touch, but O'Brien decided to play the lineout.

England breathed a sigh of relief when Samoa lost the restart and the ball was kicked into the stands.

*****

Earlier, New Zealand advanced to the semifinals with a 24-5 win over Australia.

The Kiwis ran in four tries including a brace to Hawke's Bay wing Gillies Kaka to earn a place in the top four.

New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens asked his senior players for more energy and got just that as they swarmed into the breakdown with greater numbers than on opening night.

The home side's cause gained a major boost just before halftime when Ben Adams was sin binned for taking out Tim Mikkelson without the ball after he had chipped ahead.

New Zealand took their opportunity scoring two tries against their six-man opponents as a 7-0 lead blew out to 19-0 before the Australians were restored to seven men.

Kaka had opened the scoring with an 80-metre run after a Ben Lam intercept and a Mikkelson assist to settle the Kiwi's nerves.

Adams' was shown his yellow card just before halftime and Lam pounced, skipping through his defender to make it 14-0 at the break.

Sam Dickson effectively decided the result when he crossed shortly after the restart and when Kaka got his second the rout was complete.

Tom Cusack grabbed a consolation try for Australia, but it wasn't enough to stop New Zealand extending their trans-Tasman domination in Wellington to six matches dating back to 2000.

Though there were still the odd fumble, notably from Lote Raikabula and Luke Masirewa, Tietjens can be satisfied things are on the up for the defending champions.

After opening the scoring through Collins Injera, Kenya fell behind 15-7 at halftime in their quarter-final against South Africa after two tries to Cornel Hendricks and one to Stephan Dippenaar.

Willy Ambaka skipped through to make it 15-14 before Chris Dry replied in a see-saw second half.

Ambaka brought the house down with his second try with Biko Adema's conversion putting Kenya ahead with two minutes to play, a lead they held till full time.

In the first quarter-final England cruised past Scotland with Dan Norton and Marcus Watson grabbing two tries each after John Brake had opened the scoring.

Samoa continued their day one form with a pleasing win over Argentina in a complete team effort that saw five tries to five different players.

 

Day Two Results

Bowl Quarterfinals

Spain 26 Portugal 19
Canada 28 Tonga 5
Fiji 29 USA 12
France 33 Wales 12

Cup Quarterfinals

England 31 Scotland 7
Samoa 31 Argentina 7
New Zealand 24 Australia 5
Kenya 21 South Africa 20

Shield Semifinals

Tonga 17 Portugal 7
Wales 17 USA 15

Bowl Semifinals

Canada 31 Spain 7
Fiji 19 France 17

Plate Semifinals

Scotland 35 Argentina 5
Australia 14 South Africa 5

Cup Semifinals

England 21 Samoa 19
Kenya 19 New Zealand 14

Shield Final

Wales 26 Tonga 21

Bowl Final

Canada 28 Fiji 19

Plate Final

Australia 22 Scotland 7

Consolation Final

New Zealand 17 Samoa 7

Final

England 24 Kenya 19

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