All Blacks sevens reassert dominance in pool play

By Campbell Burnes

Sonny Bill Williams scored a try in New Zealand's win over Samoa. Photo / Getty Images.
Sonny Bill Williams scored a try in New Zealand's win over Samoa. Photo / Getty Images.

After a dusty opening two games in Hong Kong, the All Blacks Sevens have reasserted themselves with a patient, assured 28-10 victory over Samoa to top Pool A and progress to the playoffs.

New Zealand will face Wales in tomorrow's Cup quarter-final, kickoff set for 2.58pm NZT.

But the 3-0 clean sheet was not achieved without some issues. New Zealand were scratchy last night in the opening stanza before edging France 19-17 thanks mainly to a double by captain Tim Mikkelson. But he then retired with an ankle injury and did not take the field today.

Earlier this afternoon, New Zealand were poor against Kenya, but took the points with a 5-0 victory courtesy of a late try to stand-in skipper DJ Forbes.

So a depleted New Zealand team - minus Sam Dickson, who was injured against Kenya - sought a confidence-boosting display against Samoa to prepare for the day three finals.

They duly obliged, controlling the game, the ball and the tempo, shooting out to a 21-0 halftime lead.

Quick hands from a quick tap saw Gillies Kaka cross, while Regan Ware showed his speed with a superb 60m breakout. Kaka then set Ware up for a second with a deft short ball, before converting his second from wide out.

New Zealand were very patient in their tactical approach, content to let the Samoan defence come to them and not push the pass, even running backwards or sideways if need be.

Samoa fought back with two tries in the second spell, including one to Waitemata club wing Ed Fidow, who is not short of wheels. There was time, though, for a score to Sonny Bill Williams, off a cut move with Kaka.

Forbes is in his record-equalling 79th World Series tournament, drawing with the great Uale Mai of Samoa.

The big upset from the pool stages was England beating series contenders South Africa 21-14.

Day two games:
New Zealand 28 (Regan Ware 2, Gillies Kaka, SB Williams tries; Kaka 4 con) Samoa 10 (Faamaliga Selesele, Ed Fidow tries) HT: 21-0
New Zealand 5 (DJ Forbes try) Kenya 0 HT: 0-0

Day one game:
New Zealand 19 (Tim Mikkelson 2, Kurt Baker tries; Gillies Kaka 2 con) France 17 (Julien Candelon, Virimi Vakatawa, Jonathan Laugel tries; Stephen Parez con) HT: 17-7 France

NZ women's 7s in Atlanta
Day one games:
New Zealand 38 Japan 5, New Zealand 10 Spain 5, USA 12 New Zealand 5

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