NZ Sevens lose in semis, lose World Series lead

BEN STRANG
Last updated 05:00 24/03/2014
NZ Sevens
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FALLING AWAY: New Zealand lost consecutive games to Fiji and England to lose their position at the top of the IRB Sevens World Series table.

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New Zealand have lost their lead in the IRB Sevens World Series to South Africa after losing to Fiji and England in their final two matches of the Tokyo Sevens last night.

A reinvigorated Fiji came from behind in the semifinal to progress through to only their second final appearance of the 2013-14 World Series, where they beat South Africa 33-26.

England beat New Zealand in the third-fourth playoff, overturning a 12-7 halftime deficit to win the match 21-12.

Ambrose Curtis gave New Zealand the lead after four minutes of their match against England, with new cap Marty McKenzie kicking the conversion.

England struck back two minutes later through Dan Bibby, with Tom Mitchell adding the extras, but that left just enough time for New Zealand to grab a lead at the break, with Sam Dickson scoring nearly two minutes into extra time.

That was to be the last meaningful contribution from the New Zealand team, as England controlled possession in the second half.

Jack Clifford scored a minute after the break, with Mitchell adding the conversion to give England the lead.

Phil Burgess then secured the win for England with a try late in the match, which Mitchell again converted to give his side the 21-12 win.

New Zealand earned 15 World Series points in Tokyo, moving them to 114 points, while South Africa move two points clear after their 33-26 loss in the final against Fiji.

Fiji remain a distant third on the World Series table, on 95 points after their victory.

The teams head to Hong Kong this weekend for the second tournament of the Asian leg of the World Series.

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- Fairfax Media

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