Tokyo Olympics 2020: All Blacks Sevens into gold medal match after win over Great Britain

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 28 Jul 2021, 3:38PM
Regan Ware of New Zealand takes on Dan Norton and Dan Bibby of Great Britain. (Photo / Getty)
Regan Ware of New Zealand takes on Dan Norton and Dan Bibby of Great Britain. (Photo / Getty)

Tokyo Olympics 2020: All Blacks Sevens into gold medal match after win over Great Britain

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 28 Jul 2021, 3:38PM

With patience and precision, the All Blacks Sevens have secured their place in the gold medal match against defending champions Fiji.

Five years after failing to medal at the Rio Olympics, this All Blacks Sevens side continues to prove a different beast as they seek redemption in the Tokyo heat.

Led by another inspirational display from co-captain Scott Curry, and a supremely clinical performance, New Zealand outclassed Great Britian 29-7 in the first semifinal to book their place in the gold medal match.

New Zealand will face Rio gold medallists Fiji in the final later tonight after the Pacific Islanders overcame a 14-12 half time deficit to defeat Argentina 26-14 in their semifinal, with Semi Radradra claiming a crucial second half try off the bench.

It bodes well for New Zealand that they delivered their best performance of the tournament when it matters, but Fiji have been the dominant team thus far and will require another significant step up.

In their final pool match Fiji defeated Great Britian 33-7, before producing a 19-0 shutout over Australia in their quarterfinal.

Five years ago in Rio New Zealand lost 12-7 to Fiji the quarterfinals to finish fifth. While they have surpassed that disappointment, gold is now within reach.

In their semifinal New Zealand led 14-7 after a tense first half but three further tries – Curry and Regan Ware claiming doubles – put the result well beyond doubt.

Clark Laidlaw's men arrived with intent to play mistake-free; to retain the ball and use their obvious size and strength advantage, and they executed that plan to perfection to remain unbeaten.

Patience typified New Zealand's opening try after controlling the ball for the first 2.15 minutes. Through accurate passing and ruck ball retention New Zealand gradually worked their way downfield with Curry eventually collecting the spoils.

Great Britian immediately responded, however, with all-time leading sevens try-scoring Dan Norton bursting away to showcase his pace and draw level.

In the face of staunch defence from Great Britian, New Zealand manufactured one more chance just before the break to create space for Ware, who caused a few heart flutters while flirting with the dead-ball line to improve the conversion position and hand his men a 14-7 half time lead.

Ware's double after half time established a 12-point lead three minutes remaining, and Dylan Collier emphatically finished the job by latching onto Andrew Knewstubb's restart and racing away to score.

New Zealand reached this point after being top qualifiers for the quarterfinals, emerging undefeated from their three pool matches when they accounted for Australia 14-12, overcoming a 12-0 half time deficit and second half yellow card, Argentina 35-14 and South Korea 50-5.

In a scrappy affair dominated by penalties Laidlaw's men won their quarter-final 21-10 over Canada.

Earlier in the day South Africa survived a late comeback to see off Australia 22-19 and progress to face the United States, who needed extra time to defeat Canada, in the playoff for fifth place.