NZ to face South Africa in final

TOBY ROBSON AT WESTPAC STADIUM
Last updated 19:25 08/02/2014

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New Zealand has capitalised on a horror start by England to cruise into the final of the Wellingtons sevens.

The defending champion English had two men in the sin bin within the opening minutes of the semifinal and New Zealand pounced before running away with a comprehensive 31-0 win.

The home side will play South Africa after they beat Fiji.

It will be New Zealand's ninth home final as they chase a seventh Wellington title.

New Zealand's defence continues to be their greatest asset and they have now kept their opponents scoreless through four matches at the tournament including a 24-0 quarterfinal win over Canada.

England handed New Zealand a huge advantage in the semi when first Tom Bibby, for a tip tackle on Gillies Kaka, then Tom Mitchell, for throwing the ball away before a lineout, were sent to the sin bin.

Against five players it was a no brainer as Sherwin Stowers opened the scoring with a try in the corner. Scott Curry, Ben Lam, Bryce Heem and Akira Ioane would all follow suit before full time.

England were restored to seven with the score at 5-0, but the damage was done and after a brief scuffle Curry barged over, then Lam dummied and scored under the posts for a commanding 19-0 halftime lead.

Heem continued England's misery with New Zealand's fourth try after the break with Kaka's sideline conversion effectively ending the contest at 26-0 with three minutes to play.

Ioane rubbed salt in the wound when he flew in for his second try after the hooter.

It was a shuddering halt for an England team who had looked impressive in dispatching Samoa 21-5 in the quarters.

New Zealand had earlier made short work of Canada to advance to a semifinal thanks to two Curry tries, some hard running from Lam and a third straight shut out of the opposition.

Fiji and South Africa advanced in contrasting quarter finals over Argentina and Australia respectively.

New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens will be pleased after his side continued their water-tight defence against Canada even after replacement George Tilsley was sin binned with two minutes to play.

Playmaker Gillies Kaka had opened the scoring when he sold a dummy and skipped away from the defence following a strong midfield surge from Lam.

Bryce Heem then dived on a Canadian fumble from the kick off with Sherwin Stowers and captain DJ Forbes releasing Curry for the second try and a 12-0 buffer after Kaka's wide conversion was successful.

The second half was a stop start affair with injuries, a television match official ruling on a no-try to Tim Mikkelson and Tilsley's sin bin slowing the match to a virtual halt.

Tilsley returned just in time to score on the final whistle after an electric run up the middle by Akira Ioane, who would have done well to hold on and stretch for the line, but instead heaved a pass backwards.

Cama capped the match with a sideline conversion.

Semifinal

New Zealand 31 (Sherwin Stowers, Scott Curry, Ben Lam, Bryce Heem, Akira Ioane tries, Kaka 3 cons) England 0. HT: 19-0.

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Quarterfinal

New Zealand 24 (Scott Curry 2, Gillies Kaka, George Tilsley tries, Kaka con, Tomasi Cama con) Canada 0. HT:12-0.

 

- The Dominion Post

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