New Zealand clinch Sevens crown once again
May 13, 2012
New Zealand 7s coach Gordon Tietjens and captain DJ Forbes pose with the HSBC Sevens World Series silverware © Getty Images
New Zealand wrapped up the HSBC Sevens World Series crown for the 10th time with a third place finish at season-ending London 7s at Twickenham.
A ruthless 36-0 quarter-final victory over South Africa ensured they would collect enough Series points to pip rivals Fiji to the overall title but they responded to that disappointment by beating New Zealand (31-7) and then Samoa (38-15) on their way to the London 7s glory. New Zealand recovered to end the season on a high note by beating Argentina in the play-off for bronze.
"It's pretty special, we worked extremely hard to get this one and I think everyone knows how competitive the Sevens Series is now," said New Zealand captain DJ Forbes. "We came here with an 11-point lead but still with an opportunity of blowing it. The quarter-final win was probably our only complete game of rugby this weekend, but there was a lot of passion, a lot behind it to make sure we wrapped up the Series.
"At the end of the day it comes down to consistency and that's where we were probably a little bit ahead, but taking nothing away from Fiji, they've done extremely well to win here. I guess for us you could see that we're used to playing under pressure, regardless of where we're playing. If you're wearing a black jersey everyone expects you to do well," added Forbes.
Earlier in the day, hosts England saw their title challenge fade with a 21-14 defeat to Fiji in their quarter-final clash while Samoa ended Spain's surprising run (22-7) and Argentina edged Australia (12-7) in the other last eight clashes. Samoa then went on to squeeze past Argentina (21-19) in the semi-finals.
Australia would go on to beat England (14-12) to win the Plate, Wales eased past Scotland (27-5) for the Bowl, France beat the USA (19-12) in the Shield final and England won their second IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup with victory over the Netherlands.
A record two-day Sevens crowd of 103,027 attended Twickenham over the weekend, a fitting climax to another thrilling season of international Sevens - a fact welcomed by IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"Once again New Zealand have proved that, over the course of an entire season, they are the finest Sevens side in the world and our congratulations go to them," he said. "And yet even on this, their day of triumph, they were denied in the Cup semi-finals by their closest challengers Fiji, which again underlines just how competitive our global Game of Rugby Sevens has become.
"In the women's event too we have seen a wonderful tournament from the Netherlands in reaching a first Cup title and congratulations to England on winning their second title of the season.
"Twickenham has provided a wonderful and fitting stage for the finale of another superb season, capped off by another record crowd for a two-day event. We can look forward to a bright future as we gear towards the 2016 Olympic Games."
HSBC Sevens World Series standings: (Top 10)
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