2 Jun 2008

New Zealand clinch IRB world title

9:21 am on 2 June 2008

The New Zealand sevens rugby union side held on in the face of a spirited England fightback to defend their Edinburgh Sevens 24-14, and round off their IRB Sevens World Series defence on a high.

In a supremely physical match the kiwis went out to a commanding 19-0 lead through Solomon King, David Smith and Chad Tuoro but England hit back just before the break through giant wing Uche Oduoza to trail 19-7.

Ollie Phillips slipped a tackle to bring the score back to 19-14. But with the clock winding down, Nigel Hunt put the game beyond doubt for New Zealand, who have now won eight of the nine IRB Sevens World Series titles under coach Gordon Tietjens.

Samoan captain Uale Mai, passed the 1,000 career points mark in Sevens.

And in other results, South Africa beat Scotland 14-5 to win the Plate final, while Australia and Portugal win the Bowl and Shield respectively.

New Zealand finished top of the table followed by South Africa in second, with Samoa and Fiji in third and fourth respectively.