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NZ end sevens series with London triumph

New Zealand have crowned their world series sevens rugby title with victory in the final tournament at London.



NEW Zealand have crowned their world series sevens rugby title with victory in the final tournament at London.

Coach Gordon Tietjens’ team had already ensured they would win an 11th series at Glasgow last week but they finished the season on a high with a 47-12 thrashing of Australia in the final at Twickenham on Sunday.

Tim Mikkelson crossed for the first of his two tries after just 32 seconds as New Zealand raced 21-5 clear at halftime and never looked like getting beaten.

The only team with a perfect three-from-three record in pool play, New Zealand were just as dominant in a 52-7 quarter-final defeat of Argentina.

Kenya, who provided the stiffest pool test on Saturday, were again problematic as semi-final opponents. New Zealand ground out victory 7-0 courtesy of a first-half try to Pita Ahki.

Australia upset England 14-7 in a tense semi-final to follow a 24-19 quarter-final defeat of the United States.

Veteran coach Tietjens attributed victory to the attitude of his players right until the end of a long campaign.

“We work really hard and you get a lot when you work hard,” he said.

“We have got a great team here and a lot of young players. Tim Mikkelson was simply simply outstanding.”

His team won two of the nine tournaments, including the third leg at Port Elizabeth in December.

Consistency was a hallmark. They were the only side to reach the Cup quarter-finals of every tournament.

Injury forced Tietjens to introduce several new faces to his squad throughout the season, most of whom performed at a high level.

His attention now turns to the sevens World Cup in Moscow in June, where New Zealand will chase their second world crown.

“There will be no easy games in the World Cup. We will go there and give it our best shot that’s what keeps us going,” Tietjens said.

Second-placed South Africa finished 41 points behind New Zealand in the standings, with Fiji third.

Leading final standings: New Zealand 173, South Africa 132, Fiji 121, Samoa 104, Kenya 99, England 92, Wales 91, Australia 89.