Rugby sevens: Uncharacteristic mistake ends New Zealand's run

New Zealand 14
Wales 15

A shock error sent New Zealand tumbling out of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai last night.

Viliame Waqaseduadua, one of the stars of the New Zealand show to this point, produced an inexplicable handling lapse when under no pressure and about to score against Wales in the quarter-finals.

The try would have sent New Zealand out to an uncatchable 21-10 lead but Waqaseduadua's mistake saw Wales come back strongly to score at the other end through Tom Isaacs and take a one-point lead - effectively a 12-point turnaround. They then held off a desperate New Zealand for the remaining 40 seconds.

New Zealand, without two of their leading players, struck first after a DJ Forbes tackle produced a turnover in the first minute and they worked the ball wide to Zar Lawrence whose hinted inside pass threw the defence off for him to score close to the posts.

However, Wales struck back instantly when diminutive Lee Williams showed blistering pace, scuttling round a ruck and outrunning the New Zealand defence down the sideline; hoodwinking the last defender with a perfect in-out swerve - 7-5 to New Zealand.

Wales gained confidence and attacked the New Zealanders consistently and only some committed defence held them at bay - before a stab by Williams breached the line again and he sent Richie Pugh over for the try for a 10-7 halftime lead to Wales.

New Zealand regained the lead with a fine Lote Raikabula try in the second half and the conversion meant they led by four.

Then - disaster.

Wales swung back on attack, lost the ball and Chad Tuoro, having a fine tournament, swooped. His netball pass found Waqaseduadua who had only to gallop to the line to sew the game up.

But, after securing the pass, Waqaseduadua somehow lost the ball and Wales had their chance.

Samoa upset England 31-26 in their thrilling quarter-final - an even bigger upset than New Zealand, as England have been the form horses on the sevens circuit, making each of the last four finals and winning in Wellington.

Samoa cleared out to a 21-7 lead at halftime before fleet-footed Tom Varndell scored his second try to bring England back into it. Ollie Phillips then scored and England were only 21-19 down but tries to both teams brought a 26-26 tie and extra time before Simaika Mikalel scored the sudden death try to take Sama through to a semifinal against Wales.

In other matches last night, Argentina was taking on South Africa and Kenya was meeting Fiji.

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