NZ Sevens unbeaten in Hamilton after wins over Aussies, Fijiana

Sat, Jan 21
Akuila Rokolisoa sells a massive goosestep against Australia.

The New Zealand Sevens teams are all but guaranteed places in the cup playoffs of their respective tournaments at the Hamilton Sevens after both going two-from-two to open their campaigns.

After opening their tournament in Hamilton this morning with a dominant 45-0 win over Tonga, the All Blacks Sevens had to work much harder to beat the reigning series champions but held off a last-gasp effort from Australia to win 21-19.

It was all one-way traffic to open the contest with the All Blacks Sevens controlling possession and forcing Australia to concede multiple penalties before a hole finally opened up off a Sam Dickson offload for Joe Webber to find the line in the third minute.

The Australians struck back though with two tries to close the half; the first a Maurice Longbottom effort off a quick-tapped penalty three minutes before the break and the second a runaway try after the hooter from James Turner off an intercept inside the Aussie 22.

It meant despite their control of the ball for a majority of the half, the All Blacks Sevens headed to halftime down 7-12.

Akuila Rokolisoa got the New Zealand side back in front though shortly after the restart with a filthy goosestep but Australia responded once more minutes later with another long range effort from Henry Paterson.

That left the All Blacks Sevens inside their 22 with two minutes on the clock to find another try against a gritty Australian defence.

Cue Roderick Solo.

Living up to his family name, the young flyer produced a superb individual effort as he took the ball from the ruck and sprinted off down the right sideline, fending off a sweeping tackle to trot in under the posts and give his side a 21-19 lead with a minute left.

Australia were inches from snatching a win in the final seconds after opting for a kick and chase against the pressing Kiwi defence but couldn't regather the ball and instead knocked it on, giving the All Blacks Sevens the win.

The Black Ferns Sevens nabbed their second win of the tournament an hour later after they posted another shutout win in Pool A.

The Black Ferns Sevens close in on Reapi Uluniasau.

Having previously pumped Papua New Guinea 58-0 this morning, the Black Ferns Sevens returned to the Waikato field with another classy display to take down Fijiana 27-0.

After Fiji controlled the early possession, it was Risi Pouri-Lane who took control of the match; first forcing a turnover for her side and then stepping inside her defender moments later to streak away untouched to score under the posts.

A Fiji knock on shortly after the restart gave the Black Ferns a prime attacking platform to work from and they didn't disappoint, putting Michaeala Blyde in space on the left wing off a worked move from the scrum to score their second and earn a 12-0 lead at the break.

Things didn't get any easier for Fiji to start the second half as they were reduced to six thanks to a yellow card to Adi vani Buleki for head contact and again New Zealand made them pay with Jazmin Felix-Hotham and Stacey Fluhler scoring.

Captain Sarah Hirini added a fifth try after the hooter to put the cherry on top.

The two New Zealand sides now turn their attention to Great Britain tonight with the men playing first at 7:35pm before the women play the same nation at 8pm to wrap up the day's action.


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