New Zealand All Blacks Win Gold Coast Sevens Rugby Series
Commentary by RugbyNation.com:
Once again, New Zealand wins another series. Tim Mikkelson looks better than ever. His ability to take advantage of opposing team’s mistakes, is second to none. With Tim on the field, a split-second distraction by an opponent can quickly turn into a NZ score. It is impressive to watch. To think that early in his career in professional sports, his first coach stated that Tim didn’t have the body structure to be good in the sport. Look at him now.
USA wins Shield Final. Again, Carlin Isles is not allowed to start, and only put in the game towards the end when the team is already losing. Give the guy a chance to put some points on the board at the beginning of the game to boost the team’s morale and play off of good momentum, rather than from behind.
Debutant Ambrose Curtis scored two tries as New Zealand came from behind to win the 2013 Gold Coast Sevens, beating hosts Australia 40-19 in the final to get the defence of their HSBC Sevens World Series title off to a flying start.
Trailing 12-0, it looked as though New Zealand could be set for a third successive Cup final defeat at Skilled Park, but Curtis (2), Tomasi Cama, David Raikuna, Waisake Naholo and Joe Webber ensured the win against a tiring Australia.
The hosts were made to work hard in a breathless semi final, eventually coming out 24-19 victors thanks to a Jesse Parahi try deep into the second half of sudden-death extra time.
In the semi finals Gordon Tietjens’ side continued their impressive Gold Coast Sevens campaign by beating a spirited England 14-5 to book their place in the Cup final at the opening round of the Series.
England finished third after an impressive 47-0 win over South Africa with Phil Burgess, James Rodwell and Dan Bibby both scoring twice. Earlier Simon Amor’s side had beaten former coach Ben Ryan’s Fiji 26-12 in the quarter finals before Mike Ellery scored the first points of the weekend against New Zealand in their semi final defeat.
In their respective quarter-finals, last year’s IRB Sevens Player of the Year Mikkelson scored a hat-trick for New Zealand in their 40-0 win against Samoa, before Australia beat Kenya 24-12 with Shannon Walker, Ed Jenkins, Sean McMahon and Nick Malouf scoring the tries.
Fiji win Plate
Having lost to former side England in the Cup quarter final, Ben Ryan guided his Fiji side to a Plate victory after beating Kenya 36-0 thanks to tries from Samisoni Virivri, Waisea Nacuqu, Benito Masilevu (2), Ilai Tinai and Sakiusa Nadruku.
In the semi finals the two-time defending Gold Coast Sevens champions proved too strong for Samoa, winning 31-26 with five different player scoring.
Sudden death triumph for France in Bowl
France ensured they maintained a 100% record on day two as Julien Saubade scored in sudden death extra time to win the Bowl.
Connor Braid had held his nerve to kick a last minute conversion to take the match into sudden death extra time after Sean Ferguson had crossed in the corner, but Saubade’s try ensured France won in overtime for the second time in two matches.
Julien Candelon was on hand to secure a 17-12 win over Argentina in sudden death extra time in the second semi final, after Harry Jones’ brace booked Canada’s place in the final in a 19-14 victory over Scotland.
Shield success for Hawkins and USA
The USA beat Portugal 22-0 to lift the Shield final in Matt Hawkins’ first tournament as head coach. Tries from Stephen Tomasin, Zack Test, Brett Thompson and Folau Niua ensured the USA took home some silverware from the Gold Coast Sevens.
Earlier, Niua scored 16 points as USA beat Spain 26-7 in the first Shield semi final to set up the match with Portugal.