New Zealand has emphatically won the Wellington leg of the IRB World Sevens Series, beating England 29-14 in the final. England led right up till the end of the first half, but New Zealand scored at the hooter to take the lead 12 – 7 into half time. While still behind in the first half, New Zealand lost captain DJ Forbes to injury for the rest if the game. After the break it was all New Zealand as they scored three unanswered tries before England scored a consolation on the final whistle through Simon Hunt.
In his debut tournament Declan O’Donnell was foremost in both the final and semi-final, scoring three tries in the final and two tries in the 17 – 0 semi-final victory over Australia. His ten tries in the tournament gets his international sevens career off to an impressive start as he finished his maiden tournament as the leading try and points scorer. He also set a new Wellington Sevens try scoring record, eclipsing the old one of six.
Also scoring in the final was England’s Isoa Damu, who scored the opening try, and Toby Arnold and Tomasi Cama for New Zealand. Cama also kicked two conversions, as did England’s Ben Gollings.
England had earlier won a nail biting semi-final against Samoa 7 to 5.
New Zealand was a dominant force throughout their home tournament, so often a bogey competition for the team. After its inception in 2000, it took New Zealand three years to first win the competition in 2003, but backed that up with victories in 2004 and 2005. This win is their first in Wellington since 2008.
New Zealand now join England at the top of the IRB Sevens World Series ladder, both on 64 points. Samoa is third with 52, Fiji fourth with 44 and South Africa are fifth with 32. The next leg of the 2010/2011 HSBC Sevens World Series is in Las Vegas next weekend.
Elsewhere in the tournament Fiji defeated South Africa 26 to 12 in the plate final; Kenya dominated Tonga 19 to 0 in the bowl final and United States won the shield final 19 to 12 over France.
2011 Wellington Rugby Sevens Final:
New Zealand 29
Tries: Declan O’Donnell 3, Toby Arnold, Tomasi Cama
Conversions: Cama 2
Tries: Isoa Damu, Simon Hunt
Conversions: Ben Gollings 2 con
Halftime Score: 12-7
2011 Wellington Sevens Semi-final: Australia 0 New Zealand 17
Declan O’Donnell 2, Tim Mikkelson tries, Buxton Popoalii conversion
2011 Wellington Sevens Semi-final: England 7 Samoa 5.
John Brake try, Ben Gollings conversion
Ofisa Treviranus try.
2011 Wellington Sevens Plate Final:
Fiji 26 South Africa 12.
2011 Wellington Sevens Bowl Final:
Kenya 19 Tonga 0.
2011 Wellington Sevens Shield Final:
United States 19 France 12.