Kiwis go down to Fiji at Wellington Sevens

14:23, Feb 07 2014
Wellington Sevens 2014
Sherwin Stowers dives in to score for the All Black Sevens.
Wellington Sevens 2014
Argentina's Anibal Panceyra Garrido takes on the USA defence.
Wellington Sevens 2014
Rhodri Davies of Wales makes a break against South Africa.
Wellington Sevens 2014
New Zealand's Ben Lam rides the tackle of a Fijian defender.
Wellington Sevens 2014
Emosi Mulevoro of Fiji dives over to score a try against New Zealand.
Wellington Sevens 2014
Kelly Meafua of Samoa scores tackled by Kenya's Biko Adema.
Wellington Sevens 2014
James Johnstone of Scotland runs in to score with Canada's Nanyak Dala in pursuit.
Wellington Sevens 2014
Head coach Simon Amor of England looks on during the Pool A match between England and Portugal.
New Zealand sevens
Burst of flames fire off behind the victorious New Zealand sevens team in Wellington.
New Zealand sevens
The New Zealand sevens team celebrate in the changing rooms after their Wellington Sevens final victory over South Africa.
New Zealand sevens
The victorious New Zealand sevens team perform a haka for the Wellington crowd.
DJ Forbes
New Zealand captain DJ Forbes with the Wellington Sevens trophy.
DJ Forbes
New Zealand captain DJ Forbes celebrates with the fans at Wellington Stadium.
Ben Lam
New Zealand's Ben Lam crosses next to the posts during the semifinal against England.
Sherwin Stowers
Sherwin Stowers has a disagreement with two England players during their semifinal.

New Zealand have crashed to a 12-7 first up loss to Fiji at the Wellington Sevens.

The home side trailed 0-5 at halftime and couldn't recover with just one try in the match to wing Sherwin Stowers.

Fiji were fired up for what was a rematch of a testy match in Las Vegas last week and after sinbins to both sides scored first through Emosi Mulevoro on the stroke of halftime.

Gordon Tietjens
TOUGH WORDS: Coach Gordon Tietjens talks to his New Zealand side after their loss to Fiji.

New Zealand started well after halftime and took the lead when Stowers capitalised on Bryce Heem's break to score under the posts.

But the IRB world series leading try scorer Samisoni Viriviri struck the killer blow with two minutes to play when he shot onto a short ball 50 metres out and scooted around New Zealand sweeper Gillies Kaka.

It is the second year running New Zealand have lost a pool match on the opening day in Wellington and, if they can't top Pool B, means they could be on a collision course for a semifinal against bogey team South Africa.

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Coach Gordon Tietjens won't be impressed by the continuation of indiscipline that dogged the side in Las Vegas where they had two players suspended after their pool match against Fiji.

This time it was Scott Curry who cooled his heels after taking out a Fijian chaser on the stroke of halftime.

It proved costly with Mulevoro crossing for the opening try and a helping Fiji to a 5-0 lead going into the break.

The first half had the intensity if not the execution of a knock out match as the two sides ran each other ragged in drifting rain.

Curry had an early chance, but couldn't beat Levani Botia to a kick through, then Kaka brilliantly shut down Viriviri midway through the half as the home side scrambled desperately.

New Zealand failed to take advantage when Viriviri was sinbinned for failing to put the ball down near the mark after a penalty and were left instead to rue their own ill discipline.

Fiji tried to close the match down with a drop goal penalty attempt near the finish, but Mulevoro was wide of the mark.

Tietjens introduced teenager Akira Ioane for his debut and the 18-year-old made a promising start when he broke the line with his first touch, but his pass slipped away in the rain and so did New Zealand's last chance to win.

Earlier, Samoa beat Kenya 24-12, South Africa thrashed Wales 26-0 and England beat Portugal 36-7 as the tournament ran to form.

Fairfax Media