Late Ardie Savea try sees New Zealand tie with Australia, top Sydney Sevens pool

Joe Webber sparked New Zealand's come back in the opener against Canada.
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Joe Webber sparked New Zealand's come back in the opener against Canada.

An Ardie Savea try after the final hooter has seen New Zealand draw with Australia and top Pool A at the Sydney Sevens.

Down 17-5 at halftime, New Zealand appeared to be headed for a loss against the tournament hosts.

Tries from Ed Jenkins, Lewis Holland and James Stannard gave Australia a healthy lead after Rieko Ioane scored the opening try moments after the kickoff.

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But Augustine Pulu pulled New Zealand back with a try after the break, and star man Savea struck the telling blow after 14 minutes had been played to level the scores at 17-17.

With points level at the top of Pool A between New Zealand and Australia as a result of the draw, New Zealand secured top spot thanks to better points differential in their matches against Canada and Portugal earlier in the day.

The draw sets up a clash with the United States in the Cup quarterfinals, and puts New Zealand on the same side of the draw as Fiji and Kenya.

PORTUGAL HAMMERED

New Zealand secured their spot in the Cup quarterfinals earlier on day one after dispatching Portugal in their second match of the tournament.

A thumping 40-5 win over the Europeans gave New Zealand their second win in two matches, having earlier beaten Canada.

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Regan Ware had a first half double, first intercepting a loose Portuguese pass to dot down for the opening try, then getting on the end of a Sonny Bill Williams offload to score his second.

Akira Ioane also scored before the break, meaning brother Rieko Ioane had to match him after halftime with a try of his own.

Augustine Pulu and Ben Lam also scored as Portugal couldn't handle the speed and power with which New Zealand were playing. The offload game was particularly impressive.

Portugal did get a consolation on the stroke of fulltime, with Aderito Esteves crossing the line.

Ware said he was lucky more than anything in scoring his double against Portugal.

"I'm just fortunate enough to be outside players like Sonny Bill," Ware said. "He's just really good at putting people into space and I got to finish it off for the team.

"We've been training together for the last month or so. With Sonny, he's got the potential to throw offloads pretty much out of nowhere, so you've got to know how to run off him and get into space pretty quickly."

COME BACK

New Zealand came from behind twice to defeat Canada in their opening match of the inaugural Sydney Sevens.

Tied at 12-12 at halftime, Gordon Tietjens' men put in a much stronger second half showing to register a 27-12 win.

Joe Webber scored a first half double to twice bring his team from behind, before the Ioane brothers both crossed in the second spell along with captain Tim Mikkelson.

Canada were well worth their first half showing, deserving to go up twice with strong attacking play. Their defence let them down, and New Zealand made them pay.

 - Stuff

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