Injury time heartache for All Blacks Sevens in Las Vegas
Lynn McConnell 04 Mar 2018 Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby
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New Zealand, who lost to Argentina on the first day of the tournament, met Fiji who were beaten by Kenya in their pool.
Having fought their way to a 10-7 lead by halftime after Fiji scored first through Vatemo Ravouvou, the All Blacks Sevens applied the pressure out from their own line with Vilimoni Koroi latching onto a dropped Fijian pass five metres out from his own line to race the length of the field to score.
Then, taking a leaf out of the 15s game, New Zealand launched a lineout drive from five metres out and pushed Sione Molia over for the try.
Relive: You never see that in sevens! @nz7s use a good old fashioned maul to score at the #USA7s pic.twitter.com/bd6pSpDKYG— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) March 4, 2018
Thrust and counter thrust marked the second half as New Zealand threw almost twice as many passes as the Fijians. They created moments but failed to take them and with fulltime looming it was the Fijians, and their mastermind Jerry Tuwai who kept the pressure on.
Winning penalties at breakdowns they built their position for a final assault and it was Amenoni Nasilasila who created an initial break before Paula Dranisinukula took play to the line and flipping a pass to Tuwai who delivered the coup de grace for the win.
After their first day loss to Argentina, the All Blacks Sevens started day two needing to beat Scotland to advance.
Scotland had the first chance to score but missed it and New Zealand launched a passing rush with Scott Curry and Andrew Knewstubb combining to provide Sione Molia with the scoring chance which he took.
#STATCHAT ?? The #AllBlacks7s and Fiji have met on 93 occasions on the @WorldRugby7s circuit, with New Zealand winning 47 times and Fiji 46
These two teams will contest the Cup quarterfinal at 2.26pm NZT.#USA7s pic.twitter.com/AYlnu9g6Pg— NZ7s (@nz7s) March 3, 2018
However, Scotland replied immediately when Jamie Farndale's choice of running line breached the defence to level the scores.
New Zealand botched the restart and Jo Nayacavou was on the ball in a flash and had too much speed for the defence.
Turnover strength allowed the All Blacks Sevens to reclaim the lead when Koroi found Regan Ware in space and able to run onto a good pass and then just before the halftime break Curry provided an offload and Ware was in again.
Resolute Scottish defence made a breakthrough difficult for New Zealand but a lineout from a penalty kick provided a chance for Trael Joass to drive from the lineout and Sam Dickson was able to capitalise in support. Knewstubb's conversion put the All Blacks Sevens out to a 26-10 lead.
FT | A determined effort but congratulations to Fiji who take the 14 - 10 win over the #AllBlacks7s.
We will play in the fifth place semifinal tomorrow. #USA7s pic.twitter.com/wCqq8FRedc— NZ7s (@nz7s) March 4, 2018