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New Zealand set up Sevens final vs South Africa


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Article Published: Saturday 10 December 2011


Hosts South Africa will face New Zealand in the Sevens final of the South African sevens while England will face Samoa in a third-place play off after their semi final defeat to New Zealand.

South Africa beat Samoa 7-12 in their Semi-final while New Zealand beat England 14-19.

Tim Mikkelson's last minute score earned New Zealand a 19-14 win after England had hauled themselves level midway through the second half with tries from Chris Cracknell and James Rodwell.

Earlier England had beaten Gold Coast Sevens champions Fiji 21-14 to reach the last four with tries from Rodwell, Mathew Turner and Dan Norton.

Against New Zealand they trailed 14-0 at one stage to tries from Solomon King and Joe Webber, both converted by Tomasi Cama, before a comeback that shook last season's  Sevens World Series champions.

Rodwell and Turner fashioned the opening for Cracknell to smash his way over in the right-hand corner with Saracens' Marcus Watson converting immediately before the interval.

And they were on a roll in the second half, forcing New Zealand into conceding penalties before Cracknell and Isoa Damudamu attacked down the right with Dan Norton's off-load putting Rodwell over.

Watson converted to tie up the scores but Cama's cross-kick put Mikkelson away in the last minute and England couldn't get out of their own territory from the final play.

Dubai champions England had worked hard to qualify for the quarter finals on the opening day, beating the USA 26-7 and Argentina 19-0 either side of a 24-14 setback against Samoa.

They then produced arguably their best performance of the season to overwhelm the Fijians, pressing them into errors and pinning them deep in their own half for long spells.

Damudamu's burst up the middle created the opening for Turner to put Rodwell in from close range early on before Osea Kolinisau got away down the left to level the scores.

England struck back immediately, though, with Norton attacking from deep and beating defenders on an 80m burst for the line.

Another patient build-up involving Cracknell and Rodwell gave Turner the time to find his way to the line immediately after the break and put them 14 points clear.

Aminiasi Nava Kuruinovo responded but England ran the clock down and forced a succession of penalties to keep their grip on the remainder of the game.

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