From Tom Chick on Australia’s Gold Coast
October 13, 2013, Australia (ISN) – Debutant Ambrose Curtis scored two tries as New Zealand came from behind to win the 2013 Gold Coast Sevens, beating hosts Australia 40-19 in the final to get the defence of their HSBC Sevens World Series title off to a flying start.
Trailing 12-0, it looked as though New Zealand could be set for a third successive Cup final defeat at Skilled Park, but Curtis (2), Tomasi Cama, David Raikuna, Waisake Naholo and Joe Webber ensured the win against a tiring Australia.
The hosts were made to work hard in a breathless semi final, eventually coming out 24-19 victors thanks to a Jesse Parahi try deep into the second half of sudden-death extra time.
In the semi finals Gordon Tietjens’ side continued their impressive Gold Coast Sevens campaign by beating a spirited England 14-5 to book their place in the Cup final at the opening round of the Series.
What head coach Geraint John said…
“I am very pleased and so proud of the effort, skill, attitude and commitment of the players and that includes all of them this weekend. To play like we did against the teams we faced shows great character. Some of these players had more game time this weekend than all of last year which shows what an outstanding effort it was. I am very lucky not only to have great players but also staff who worked tirelessly.”
“Having youngsters getting game time is a huge positive. I do not like singling players out but I thought the way both Lucas Hammond and Justin Douglas played was truly outstanding. They gave it their all like all the players over the weekend. Another positive was getting Pat Kay and Pat Parfrey on the field and for them to learn what an IRB tournament is about. All this can only grow our depth and makes it difficult times ahead for me in terms of selection for Dubai and South Africa.”
“I’d like to give a big thanks to the squad for their support, commitment and attitude. They performed very well and I hope they want more. To do that I want them to go home and train even harder, learning from the weekend. Plus a big thanks to all my support staff – they make huge contributions to our success.”
GOLD COAST SEVENS STATISTICS: http://www.irbsevens.com/destination/edition=9/statistics/season=2013/statistics.html
England finished third after an impressive 47-0 win over South Africa with Phil Burgess, James Rodwell and Dan Bibby both scoring twice. Earlier Simon Amor’s side had beaten former coach Ben Ryan’s Fiji 26-12 in the quarter finals before Mike Ellery scored the first points of the weekend against New Zealand in their semi final defeat.
In their respective quarter-finals, last year’s IRB Sevens Player of the Year Mikkelson scored a hat-trick for New Zealand in their 40-0 win against Samoa, before Australia beat Kenya 24-12 with Shannon Walker, Ed Jenkins, Sean McMahon and Nick Malouf scoring the tries.
Fiji win Plate
Having lost to former side England in the Cup quarter final, Ben Ryan guided his Fiji side to a Plate victory after beating Kenya 36-0 thanks to tries from Samisoni Virivri, Waisea Nacuqu, Benito Masilevu (2), Ilai Tinai and Sakiusa Nadruku.
In the semi finals the two-time defending Gold Coast Sevens champions proved too strong for Samoa, winning 31-26 with five different player scoring.
Sudden death triumph for France in Bowl
France ensured they maintained a 100% record on day two as Julien Saubade scored in sudden death extra time to win the Bowl.
Connor Braid had held his nerve to kick a last minute conversion to take the match into sudden death extra time after Sean Ferguson had crossed in the corner, but Saubade’s try ensured France won in overtime for the second time in two matches.
Julien Candelon was on hand to secure a 17-12 win over Argentina in sudden death extra time in the second semi final, after Harry Jones’ brace booked Canada’s place in the final in a 19-14 victory over Scotland.
Shield success for Hawkins and USA
The USA beat Portugal 22-0 to lift the Shield final in Matt Hawkins’ first tournament as head coach. Tries from Stephen Tomasin, Zack Test, Brett Thompson and Folau Niua ensured the USA took home some silverware from the Gold Coast Sevens.
Earlier, Niua scored 16 points as USA beat Spain 26-7 in the first Shield semi final to set up the match with Portugal.