New Zealand to play for sevens gold medal
New Zealand will play South Africa for a fabulous five Commonwealth Games rugby sevens gold medals this morning, after dispatching Australia in the semifinals at a heaving Ibrox Stadium.
The men in black beat Australia 19-7, to extend their winning streak at Commonwealth Games to a remarkable 30 matches, stretching back to the inaugural tournament in 1998.
A double to big Scott Curry broke Australia, and saw New Zealand gain crucial momentum for the decider after some patchy form in narrow victories over Scotland and Kenya.
But they face a daunting task against South Africa, who look the form team of the tournament. They ended Samoa's run with a 35-7 victory in the second semifinal to set up a clash of the two pre-tournament favourites at 8.37am (NZT).
It was a fever pitch atmosphere at Ibrox, the home of Rangers Football Club. A full house of close to 50,000 crammed in and created noise more akin to an Old Firm derby. New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew was one of the nervous spectators peeking out from the stands.
New Zealand were coming off an unconvincing 19-7 quarterfinal win over Kenya but hit their straps immediately in the semi.Tim Mikkelson, one of three returnees from Delhi four years ago, continued his strong tournament when he crossed inside the first minute.
But they couldn't kick away and Australia levelled the scores 7-7 at halftime with their first real attack of the match, finished by Sean McMahon.
Mikkelson and captain DJ Forbes, their two senior statesmen, settled things and took control. From a measured buildup the old heads both handled before Curry charged over, and New Zealand had the lead again, entering the final three minutes.
They defended stoutly then ran the clock down as Curry streaked down the sideline for the clincher with seconds remaining.
New Zealand were without their only current Super Rugby player, Pita Ahki, for day two after he suffered a hamstring strain.
Earlier, New Zealand needed a late try from Ben Lam to secure victory over Kenya who closed to 12-7 early in the second half.
Australia produced a great escape against Wales, winning 21-19 when they looked gone for all money. 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, after Wales butchered a three on one overlap at the other end which would have clinched it.
On the other side of the draw, Samoa upset England 15-14 to book a semifinal against South Africa, who looked ominous against a handy Scotland team, winning 35-12 to silence a boisterous home crowd.