NZ sevens side through to Games semifinals

16:26, Jul 27 2014
Ben Lam
IT TAKES TWO: Ben Lam scored twice as New Zealand survived against Kenya, winning 19-7, in the Commonwealth Games quarterfinals.

Another classic trans-Tasman battle looms in the Commonwealth Games rugby sevens semifinals after Australia performed a miracle escape against Wales.

Soon after New Zealand completed a jittery 19-7 win over Kenya in the first quarterfinal, Australia booked their spot in the semis 21-19 with a desperate injury time try to break Welsh hearts at Ibrox Stadium.

Australia's Pama Fou took a quick tap after a sweeping attack, sidestepped and dived over under the posts with time up on the clock. The simple conversion saw Wales players and coaching staff drop to their knees, having led 19-7 at halftime. Even worse, Australia are coached by a Welshman, Geraint John who took over for this tournament.

Ben Lam
IT TAKES TWO: Ben Lam, who scored two tries in New Zealand's quarterfinal victory, fends of a Kenyan player.

Australia, silver medallists in Delhi four years ago, displayed admirable nerve while Wales blew their big chance. Leading 19-14 with a minute left, they butchered a three on one overlap that would have sent Australia tumbling out. A desperate tackle by James Stannard saved his side and enabled them to set up a final attack.

New Zealand will meet Australia at 5.44am (NZT), with the gold medal match scheduled for 8.37am.

On the other side of the draw, Samoa produced a boilover by eliminating England, 15-14, scoring three tries including a double to Samoa Toloa. They will meet South Africa in the semifinals after they ended Scotland's run with an impressive 35-12 victory.


Earlier there was another fright, but normal transmission resumed for New Zealand who snuck past Kenya to the semifinals.

It took a late try from Ben Lam to make it safe and continue New Zealand's unbeaten Games record stretching back to 1998.

Kenya have a caused their share of sevens upsets and when Andrew Amonde burst through a gap to score soon after halftime, New Zealand were up 12-7 and a few anxious glances were being cast on the Kiwi bench.

Lam scored an outstanding 40m solo try in the first half and his pace and power broke the game open when he cut back on the angle to score his second with 1min 42sec left.

A Tim Mikkelson quick tap in the first half gave New Zealand a 12-0 lead at the break but, like they did against Scotland a day earlier, they let their lesser-ranked opponents back in the game. It left them with plenty to work on as they bid for a remarkable five successive gold medals.

New Zealand snuck home 17-14 against Scotland on day one after they were reduced to five men for a period.

Blues midfielder Pita Ahki, New Zealand's only current Super Rugby player, wasn't sighted in the quarterfinal after he suffered a hamstring injury, and his participation for the rest of the tournament must be in grave doubt.