Samoa win Hong Kong Sevens tournament

New Zealand collapsed after a perfect start to hand Samoa a 24-21 victory and the Hong Kong Sevens on Sunday in a repeat of the Las Vegas final to edge ahead in the IRB World Series.


The Kiwis, holders of nine previous Hong Kong titles, were unable to avenge their defeat to Samoa in the US in February, leaving the Pacific islanders to take the glory in a thrilling finale in front of a 40,000 capacity crowd.


New Zealand drew first blood with quick scores under the posts for Kurt Baker, the four-try star of the Kiwis’ semi-final win, and were 14-0 up before Samoa had even touched the ball.


But the pre-tournament form team drew level at 14-14 by half-time with Simaika Mikaele forcing his way through from close range out wide to open Samoa’s account.


Scoring machine Mikaele Pesamino broke through to touch down under the posts for the Samoans to hand them the initiative immediately after the break.


New Zealand could have levelled the tie again through DJ Forbes but Australian referee Andrew Lees missed what looked like an obvious off-the-ball foul on the veteran forward as he hared after his own up-and-under.


Pesamino seized the initiative for Samoa, breaking one tackle to score under the posts after taking the ball at speed in midfield, putting the Pacific islanders 24-14 ahead.


New Zealand weren’t finished and replied under the posts with the last move of the game.


Hong Kong took the fourth-tier shield final to rapturous applause and a standing ovation, beating Russia 19-17.


Canada took the third-tier bowl while Australia won the consolation plate competition.


Samoa, who last won in Hong Kong in 2007, had held off England in the semi-finals 28-24.


New Zealand were also pushed to the limit against defending champions Fiji in a festival of running rugby which proved to be the most entertaining game of the competition.


Star of their semi-final was Baker, who crossed the line four times as the Kiwis edged the creative and powerful Fijians 33-28.


The showpiece is the sixth stop on the eight-leg Sevens World Series with further tournaments to come in England and Scotland.

 

Results:

 

Finals:

 

Cup: Samoa 24 New Zealand 21

 

Plate: Australia 12 South Africa 5

 

Bowl: Canada 35 Wales 19

 

Shield: Hong Kong 19 Russia 17.

 

Semifinals:

 

Cup: New Zealand 33 Fiji 28, Samoa 28 England 24

Plate South Africa 19 Kenya 12, Australia 21 United States 12

 

Bowl: Canada 26 Portugal 24, Wales 26 Scotland 7 Shield: Hong Kong 26 Italy 19, Russia 17 Zimbabwe 14

 

Quarter-finals: Cup (winners to Cup semifinals, losers to Plate semifinals):

 

Samoa 24 United States 7, England 26 Australia 19, Fiji 14 South Africa 12, New Zealand 21 Kenya 12

 

 Bowl (winners to Bowl semifinals): Wales 17 Argentina 12, Scotland 12 Japan 10, Canada 26 Tonga 0, Portugal 17 France 7

 

Shield (winners to Shield semifinals):

Zimbabwe 43 Thailand 12, Russia 31 China 17, Hong Kong 31 Korea 14, Italy 45 Chinese Tapei 12.

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