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New Zealand win Glasgow sevens, Australia fourth

Date
Sean McMahon of Australia is tackled by Tim Mikkleson of New Zealand during the semi-final.

Sean McMahon of Australia is tackled by Tim Mikkleson of New Zealand during the semi-final. Photo: Getty Images

GLASGOW: New Zealand won the penultimate leg of the IRB's Sevens World Series on Sunday after beating England 29-14 in the final.

The victory increases the Kiwis' lead to 11 points over closest rivals Fiji, ahead of the last round at Twickenham on May 12-13.

Fiji finished strongly to beat Australia to third place, but New Zealand will go to London knowing that a place in the Plate final would suffice to retain their World Series crown.

New Zealand have 150 points, with Fiji on 139. England's run to the final has lifted them above South Africa into third on 123 with the Blitzbokke (115), Glasgow Plate winners Samoa (114) and Australia (99) completing the top six.

Captain DJ Forbes, who marked his 50th IRB Sevens tournament with a brace of tries in the final to take his career tally to 98, admitted that the title was now New Zealand's to lose.

"We have been in situations where we have come in and had to leave a few things to fate, but this time it is only ours to lose really, isn't it?" said Forbes of New Zealand's bid for a 10th title in 13 seasons.

"I think ultimately everyone knows we are here to win the World Series, not for my 50th. You could say maybe one hand on the World Series trophy at the moment, but we have still got to do a job next week."

His coach, the peerless Gordon Tietjens, who has overseen all of New Zealand's titles, praised his side for coming through the final despite losing two players to injury.

"It was a tough tournament and we found it really tough in the final as well, particularly losing two key players so early in the piece," he said.

"It was great for those other players to get in and play really well against a good England team. I thought England played very well today.

"They have been challenging conditions but it is awesome to win here -- it gives us a better chance to hopefully retain or win our title back. For us it is important to get more points going into the last tournament.

"It is not there yet though -- we have still got a bit of work to do."

Tim Mikkelson and Forbes scored either side of James Rodwell's try for England to give New Zealand a 12-7 lead at half-time in the final.

That lead grew when Ardie Savea touched down a minute into the second half and, although Dan Norton cut the deficit, there was to be no denying New Zealand with Lote Raikabula and Forbes -- in his 50th IRB Sevens tournament -- crossing the try-line.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand had beaten Argentina and Tokyo winners Australia to reach the final, while England had battled past South Africa and then needed an extra-time try by Mat Turner to beat Fiji.

The Fijians bounced back from that disappointment to beat Australia 31-17 and minimise the damage in the Series standings.

AFP

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