Nine-match ban for NZ sevens player

Sam Dickson. Photo / Getty Images.
Sam Dickson. Photo / Getty Images.

New Zealand is into the semifinals of the Las Vegas World Series Sevens but they will be without Sam Dickson, who has been banned for nine matches.

Dickson was cited and suspended after being found guilty for contact with the eye area against an unnamed Fijian opponent in New Zealand's 12-7 pool victory. The ban means Dickson will miss the rest of the Las Vegas tournament and the Wellington round of the series which starts on February 7.

In an unrelated incident, teammate George Tilsley received a two-match ban for a tip-tackle in the Fiji match; he will be available for the final if New Zealand beat Canada in the semifinal tomorrow morning. All teams carry squads of 12 at the series.

Defending champions South Africa play Samoa in the other semifinal.

New Zealand beat England 24-7 in the quarter-final, with New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens saying the team used the bans of Dickson and Tilsley as motivation.

Despite the Waisake Naholo-inspired victory, Tietjens said: "We're pretty down... we've lost two through citings. They played for those guys, we knew it would be tough.''

Of Naholo, who scored three tries in the four-tries-to-one victory over England, Tietjens said: "He played very, very well, the best game I've seen him play for New Zealand.''
New Zealand shut out England early, taking a 19-0 lead at halftime and dominating in all facets, including the penalty count.

They topped their pool after victories over Fiji, Scotland and Australia.

Samoa came from behind to beat Australia 12-10 in their quarter-final, with Canada doing likewise against France to win 17-14. South Africa were 36-0 winners over Argentina.

NZ 24 (Waisake Naholo 3, Tim Mikkelson tries; Gillies Kaka 2 cons) beat England 7 (Tom Powell try; Dan Bibby con)

- APNZ

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