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New Zealand win Sevens World Series title

DJ Forbes of the New Zealand Sevens team

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Article Published: Monday 23 May 2011

New Zealand won the Sevens World Series for the ninth time after their nearest rival England lost in the bowl quarterfinals of the London Sevens.

England's 19-17 defeat against Kenya at Twickenham on Sunday dropped the host nation into the shield competition and meant that New Zealand's 31-14 cup quarterfinal win over Argentina clinched the overall title.

Australia's defence of the London Sevens title ended with a 17-0 defeat to South Africa, with Cecil Afrika scoring his 35th and 36th tries of the season.

England restored some pride by winning their final two games on the second day of a record-breaking Emirates Airline London Sevens.

The two-day attendance of 100,094 at Twickenham Stadium represented the biggest weekend crowd for an HSBC Sevens World Series tournament, surpassing the 100,000 return at the Dubai Sevens in 2008.

An agonising 19-17 second day defeat against Kenya had sent England tumbling out of the Bowl competition but they picked up some silverware at least, beating Canada 22-14 and finishing with a 22-7 victory over Portugal in the Shield final.

The new Emirates Airline London Sevens champions are South Africa, 24-14 winners over Fiji. New Zealand exited at the semi final stage but amassed enough series points to be confirmed HSBC Sevens World Series champions.

Scotland won the Bowl final, beating Kenya 21-19 after Andrew Turnbull’s late try levelled the scores and Peter Horne’s conversion clinched it. The Plate final was won by Samoa, who beat defending London champions Australia 22-12.

Head coach Ben Ryan admitted he was "saddened" that England's first day performance ended their hopes of challenging for the overall title after they were beaten by France and held to a draw by Argentina.

He now has to pick the side up and make sure they hang on to second place in the rankings at next weekend’s Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens.

""It was more than doubly frustrating, it was saddening on so many levels,” said Ryan.

"We’ve worked really hard around the world this year to reach two finals and four semi finals and with a good performance in Edinburgh it may still be our best overall performance in the 12 years of the series.

"But to go out in such a way yesterday was something we didn’t see coming. We played pretty poorly on the first day and it was the first time in my coaching career I couldn’t think of a reason why it went so badly wrong.”

England’s final game against Portugal was decided by a first-half burst with Mathew Turner and John Brake scoring early tries while Bristol Rugby wing Dan Norton touched down twice to take his weekend’s tally to eight. Pedro Leal claimed a late consolation.

Earlier England were stunned by Kenya when they appeared to be in complete control of the Bowl quarter final.

Ben Gollings, James Rodwell and Norton scored first half tries with Gollings’s conversion opening up a 17-0 lead.

Oscar Ouma and veteran Collins Injera struck back to narrow the gap to 17-12 before Lavin Asego snatched a win with the final play of the game.

Ciaran Hearn scored two tries for Canada to keep them in contention against England but Nick Royle, Rodwell and Norton replied with Brake’s tenacious final try making sure of a badly-needed win.

Sevens World Series standings (top five):

1 New Zealand 150pts,
2 England 121,
3 South Africa 116,
4 Samoa 112,
5 Fiji 110.

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