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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Kiwi men complete Sydney Sevens dominance

In case Australia needed another reminder of their trans-Tasman rivals’ talents in rugby before the World Cup, New Zealand did just that with a clean sweep of the Sydney Sevens on Sunday at Spotless Stadium.

Just hours after the Black Ferns broke the hearts of Australia’s women with a comprehensive 34-10 win in the final, the All Blacks smashed the United States 21-5 to complete the double.
The dual wins mean NZ top both World Series standings with the men equal first with the US on 76 points, while the women are well on top having won all three tournaments for a perfect 60 points.
It was the US’s fourth straight World Series final loss.
Australia’s men bombed in the quarterfinals with an agonising 22-17 loss to Fiji.
A 17-14 win over France then saw them qualify for the fifth place playoff but, reduced to a squad of nine for their final match, Australia went down to South Africa 17-10.
That result left Australia in sixth position in the overall World Series standings on 47 points. But Tim Walsh’s side lost further ground to the five nations ahead of them, with NZ and the US (both 76), Fiji (72), South Africa (57) and England (55) all finishing ahead of Australia in Sydney.
Australia lost playmakers Maurice Longbottom and Josh Coward early in the quarterfinal to injury.
Despite the setbacks, Australia managed to lead midway through the second half.
But two late tries saw Fiji claim victory.
“We did enough to win the game, just didn’t take those chances,” Walsh said.
“Whenever you get the opportunity, and you don’t get many, you have to take them.
“They can score from anywhere on the field.
“They’ll do it in the blink of an eye.”
The World Series now moves to Las Vegas on March 1.