Rugby Union

Tom Decent and Jotham Lian

Sydney Sevens: New Zealand score try after the siren to sink Australia in final

New Zealand - as they have done for so many years - have yet again inflicted a psychological blow to Australia's rugby players after scoring a try after the siren to clinch the Sydney Sevens title with a 27-24 win at Allianz Stadium.

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New Zealand deny Australia in thriller

Despite trailing for most of the final, New Zealand scored a try on the final play to defeat Australia in the inaugural Sydney Sevens, at Allianz Stadium.

When Greg Jeloudev palmed New Zealand's Tim Mikkelsen and sprinted down the left-hand touchline late in the second half, Australians thought they had clinched an unthinkable win against their trans-Tasman rivals, but two late tries from the All Blacks, including the match-winner from Rieko Ioane, left Australia gutted and so close to a maiden sevens series victory.

Lewis Holland's outstanding long pass gifted Sam Myers a try before New Zealand stalwart Tim Mikkelson hit back with his own points to make it 17-17 with five minutes remaining.

Rieko Ioane celebrates his tournament-winning try after the final siren in Sydney.
Rieko Ioane celebrates his tournament-winning try after the final siren in Sydney. 

Australia's uphill battle should not have been underestimated. In 63 matches against each other, the Thunderbolts have triumphed in just eight of them, including two draws - one of which was the last time they played each other.

Henry Hutchison made the first error of the slightly longer final – 10 minutes per half – by turning over the ball, but thankfully for his sake, New Zealand then made a forward pass.

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He redeemed himself moments later after slicing through a small hole to put his side up 7-0 to go with James Stannard's conversion.

The 18-year-old could not have had a more seesawing first five minutes though as he copped an almighty palm which led to New Zealand's runaway and equalising try, but just before half time he added another to his growing tally of five-pointers.

Henry Hutchison of Australia scores.
Henry Hutchison of Australia scores. Photo: Getty Images

But All Blacks speedster Kurt Baker brought Australia back to earth and again equalled the scores with a blistering run down the right flank.

The sending off of Sonny Bill Williams for a high shot - albeit briefly - brought the crowd of 37,095 to their feet as they booed him all the way to the bench.

Joe Webber of New Zealand is tackled by Allan Fa'alava'au of Australia during the final.
Joe Webber of New Zealand is tackled by Allan Fa'alava'au of Australia during the final. 

He returned for the second half but was benched within the first two minutes.

Holland, arguably Australia's best player during the tournament, was gutted but also grateful for the chance to play in front of a expectant home crowd.

Sonny Bill Williams is sin binned in the first half.
Sonny Bill Williams is sin binned in the first half. 

"To play in front of a home crowd and especially make it to the final is something the boys will cherish and this loss will hurt but with the crowd now knowing we can play some good footy, hopefully they'll follow us and that just pushes they boys on to bigger and better things," he said.

Head coach Andy Friend, who will now officially take charge of the team as they head to the next leg in Las Vegas on March 4, was optimistic for the future.

Hutchison scores golden try for Australia

Teenager Henry Hutchison has scored the try of his life to give Australia a golden point win at the Sydney Sevens tournament

"The boys know they can beat them (New Zealand). They beat South Africa today as well, we beat England today as well, so they know they can beat the top teams. Just got to keep them believing and improving," Friend said.

"It's been an amazing weekend on both fronts, on the on-field for our team which has been really special, for the Sydney crowd that's turned up or everyone that's turned up, it's been an amazing two days. This is sevens rugby, it's what it's all about."

Australia now move to fourth on the World Series standings, trailing Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand.

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