NZ Sevens team win thriller London final

BEN STRANG
Last updated 08:45 12/05/2014
IRB

Early tries to Australia threatened to upset New Zealand's world series winning weekend, but they finished strong to take out the final 52-33.

DJ Forbes
Getty
CHAMPIONS: NZ Sevens skipper DJ Forbes celebrates his side's series and event win in London.

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New Zealand have won a thrilling back-and-forth London Sevens final 52-33 against Australia at Twickenham.

The tournament win capped a brilliant season for the New Zealand Sevens team, after they secured a 12th IRB Sevens World Series crown in 15 attempts on the opening day of the season finale.

Staring at a 21-point deficit after only five minutes in the London final, the New Zealand Sevens team looked down and out, but they showed great character as they went on a 52-12 run in the next 15 minutes for a stunning victory.

''I think it was important for us to finish the world series with a bang,'' New Zealand captain DJ Forbes said.

''To finish like that really shows a lot about our character. The boys should be proud of what we've achieved.

''The last few weeks, we've done it the hard way. We've played the best in order to be the best. It's an awesome effort, and I'm proud of the boys.''

It was the highest-scoring final in the history of the IRB Sevens World Series, and capped off a brilliant weekend for New Zealand after they claimed the world series title.

Ben Lam, Scott Curry and Gillies Kaka each scored twice for New Zealand, while Tim Mikkelson and Adam Whitelock also grabbed second-half tries.

It was New Zealand's fifth tournament win of the 2013-14 season, and they claimed their 12th world series title in 15 attempts.

Australia made a rollicking start to the London final, scoring three tries in the opening four minutes to have New Zealand on the ropes.

Tom Lucas, Afa Pakalani and Con Foley crossed the line, with Cameron Clark slotting all three conversions for a 21-0 lead. That's when the champions came roaring back, stunning the Australians.

The outstanding Ben Lam opened the scoring for New Zealand after six minutes, and then Scott Curry added a double to round out the half and tie scores going into the break.

Australia were shell-shocked, and surrendered the lead just after the restart, with Gillies Kaka running through and converting his own try.

The lead was brief as Australia struck back through Foley to make it 28-all with seven minutes still remaining in the final.

A minute later the seesaw tipped again as IRB sevens player of the year award finalist Tim Mikkelson got across the line, handing New Zealand a 35-28 lead.

Defence was well and truly out the window at this point, and Lam made the most of it with his second of the game with four minutes remaining, extending the lead to 14.

Kaka then claimed his second try of the match with a minute remaining to put the match out of Australia's reach, but Australia did have one last reply as Sam Myers scored his seventh try of the tournament with time nearly expired, but giving substitute Adam Whitelock just enough time to add New Zealand's eighth try of the match.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand defeated Fiji 12-10 in a tense semifinal after a stunning 32-5 demolition of South Africa in the quartefinals.

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SCOREBOARD

New Zealand 52 (Ben Lam 2, Scott Curry 2, Gillies Kaka 2, Tim Mikkelson, Adam Whitelock tries; Gillies Kaka 6 conversions) - Australia 33 (Con Foley 2, Tom Lucas, Afa Pakalani, Sam Myers tries; Cameron Clark 4 conversions).

- Stuff

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