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Kiwis take gold in rugby sevens


New Zealand captured the Commonwealth Games rugby sevens gold medal with a 33-15 win over Fiji.

New Zealand

New Zealand take Commonwealth gold again

The rugby sevens final marked the end of the City of Manchester's role as the sporting jewel in the crown of Manchester 2002. And, as such, the game did not disappoint.

Fijiís indiscipline cost them heavily in the second half when a sending off seriously harmed their chances against the defending champions.

New Zealand held a lead of 14-12 at half time with an early try from Mils Muliana and a second try two minutes from the break by Craig Newby from a tap penalty. In between, Fiji had scored two tries from Jope Tuikabe and Viliame Satala to hold the lead for a short time.

The intensity of the match increased in the second half with both teams in a position to win, but with five minutes of normal time to play Fijiís Saisi Fuli was sent off by referee Stuart Dickinson for a late tackle on Brad Fleming.

Even with this numerical handicap Fiji took the lead at 15-14, with little more than two minutes of normal time to play, with a penalty from their captain Waisale Serevi.

New Zealand returned to the attack and with normal time almost exhausted regained the lead with a try from Craig De Goldi. Bruce Reihanaís conversion put New Zealand ahead 21-15 and when Reihana raced through for a try from inside the Fiji 22, the match was decided.

There was still time for Fijiís Jope Tuikabe to be yellow carded and their five man team could not prevent Roger Randle scoring New Zealand`s fourth try.

New Zealandís captain, Eric Rush, whoíd led them to victory in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, missed the final because of a shoulder injury.

But once again, the message from Commonwealth sevens rugby was clear. Mess with the Kiwis at your own peril.

In the semi-finals New Zealand beat Samoa 31-12 and Fiji defeated South Africa 17-7 after being under pressure as they fell behind 7-5 in the first half. Fiji pulled away after half time and South Africa had a chance to save the game with the final move. But the attack faltered close to the Fiji line and Fiji broke away for another try.

The bronze medal was won by South Africa who were given a stiff test by Samoa in slippery conditions before winning 19-7. South Africa led 12-7 at half time and a try by Fabian Juries early in the second half put Samoa too far behind to recover.

England beat Australia 36-12 to win the Plate final and Scotland beat Tonga 40-26 in the Bowl final..

Info News Service/bn/sm

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