Rugby: NZ remain top of World Sevens table despite loss

Tomasi Cama. Photo / Getty Images
Tomasi Cama. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand remain on top of the World Sevens Series points table but that will probably be of cold comfort following tonight's extra-time semifinal defeat to Samoa in Tokyo.

The Samoans repeated their Las Vegas final success over the New Zealanders with a 17-12 victory, although they went on to lose to Australia in the final.

Gordon Tietjens' men, on the other hand, had to pick themselves up for a third-place match against England, which they won 24-17 thanks to a comeback led by Mark Jackman, who scored two tries. England quickly went out to a 17-0 lead before Tim Mikkelson replied with a converted try.

That win, and the fact that Fiji were knocked out in the quarter-final stage by Samoa, means the New Zealanders remain on top of the table with 128 points to Fiji's 122 and only tournaments in Scotland and England remaining. South Africa are third on 105.

New Zealand suffered a blow before kick-off against Samoa with the news their playmaker Tomasi Cama was not available due to a leg injury.

Cama, so brilliant at unlocking defences, was injured when converting his own try in the 40-5 win over Argentina.

His absence meant New Zealand struggled to find a way through Samoa, who led 12-0 at halftime. At the break Tietjens reinforced the need for his players to hold the ball and go through, rather than around, the Samoans, and the simple message seemed to do the trick, with Joe Webber opening New Zealand's account and Mark Jackman dramatically scoring with 20 seconds left. His conversion after the siren drew his side level.

However, Alatasi Tupou won the match for Samoa with a try only seconds into extra-time.

Australia won the final over Samoa 28-26 thanks to a late conversion from Matt Lucas.

Fiji won the plate final 14-10 over South Africa.

New Zealand 24 (Mark Jackman 2, Tim Mikkelson, Waisake Naholo tries; Jackman 2 cons). England 17 (Greg Barden, Dan Norton, Tom Mitchell tries; Christian Lewis-Pratt con).


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