RUGBY SEVENS

Sevens team strikes gold again

Wednesday 13 October 2010, 8:26AM
By New Zealand Olympic Committee
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New Zealand staged a stirring second-half fightback today to win their fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games sevens rugby gold medal.


The New Zealanders, having trailed Australia 10-7 at halftime, won 24-17 amid joyous scenes of jubilation from their supporters.


The atmosphere at the sevens was relaxed and party-like and the New Zealand team responded with a good display of fast-paced sevens rugby.


Yet things looked grim for the New Zealanders at halftime, and they got even bleaker soon after the break when James Stannard scored a converted try for the Australians.


At 17-7 it looked doubtful if the New Zealand team would have enough to come back.


But Sherwin Stowers replied within 60 seconds with a try under the posts, and from then New Zealand dominated.


New Zealand captain DJ Forbes put his team ahead 6½ minutes into the second half and Kurt Baker put the icing on the cake with a runaway try in the final minute.


In the first half Lote Raikabula opened the scoring for New Zealand, courtesy of a clever off-load by Forbes. But Australia had the better of the rest of the half, with tries to Lachie Turner and Luke Morahan.


The New Zealand cause was not helped by the having Liam Messam yellow carded just before the break and while he was on the sideline, Morahan scored his try.


In the semi-finals, New Zealand beat England 23-17 and Australia beat South Africa 17-7.


New Zealand has an enviable record in sevens rugby. They’ve won the gold medal ever since sevens was introduced to the Commonwealth Games in 1998 at Kuala Lumpur. Even when the New Zealand team has struggled on the world circuit, it has always produced the goods at the games, every time under coach Gordon Tietjens.