New Zealand savour home triumph
February 4, 2012
New Zealand's Solomon King powers past a Samoa tackler © Getty Images
New Zealand savoured glory on home soil again as they retained the Wellington title and took charge of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The Kiwis beat closest rivals 24-7 after an imperious first-half display that saw them run in four unanswered tries in the first ten minutes through Frank Halai (2), Tomasi Cama and captain DJ Forbes.
Fiji scored the sole try of the second half but the hosts' defence ensured they made it consecutive victories in the Wellington Sevens and adding to their Rugby World Cup triumph in Auckland last October.
New Zealand had booked their place in the final after Halai scored the decisive try in sudden-death extra-time to give them a 17-12 victory over England. In the other semi final Fiji beat Samoa 28-5 with two tries from Metuisela Talebula.
The Kiwis now lead the overall standings with 73 points followed by Fiji (70) and England (64).
Rugby World Cup-winning All Black Hosea Gear paid tribute to his team-mates, saying: "It is awesome.
"It is a tournament I have never been a part of before, so to play in it and to actually win it is amazing.. I have had the pleasure of being in the crowd and experiencing what it is like to watch (in Wellington) but to be playing is something that means a lot to me.
"It is always hard adjusting to the game but the boys have made me feel welcome and they have made it easy for me."
New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens said: "It is really special, we love winning our own tournament, we know what it means to South Africa to win their home tournament and they just missed out on it, it has been taken away from us before a few years ago by England so for the young players it is an awesome experience and one they will never forget,"
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra