Published: Sun, December 02, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

New Zealand clinch sixth Dubai Sevens title

New Zealand clinch sixth Dubai Sevens title

The third at 32, Australia fourth at 28 and France fifth at 22.

Canada pinned New Zealand deep off the opening kickoff.

The second-quarter final saw New Zealand and Scotland embroiled in a first-half arm-wrestle before the All Blacks Sevens opened up.

The Kiwis had comfortably beaten the Eagles on Friday in pool play, but the final was in the balance until two minutes to go, when Andrew Knewstubb's second conversion to Dylan Collier's try gave New Zealand a safe 14-5 lead.

Losses to world and Commonwealth champions New Zealand (28-7), U.S. (33-12) and Spain (33-7) didn't tell the full story of a Wales team made up of six new caps - all of whom were playing top-flight sevens for the first time.

New Zealand led at halftime 14-0 after tries from Ngarohi McGarvey and Amanaki Nicole in the first spell.

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The turning point came when Bianca Farella was sin-binned for a high tackle, and New Zealand took advantage with a scrappy run by Stacey Waaka and Nathan-Wong's second, insurance try.

It was the first time since 2009 that New Zealand have won in Dubai, and they achieved it without four first choice players who were injured before the final.

The Fijians scored a try in the sudden death extra-time period to win 24-19. Head coach Damian McGrath's Langford-based crew lost 26-12 to England and 31-19 to France before beating Japan 27-7.

New Zealand's players perform the Haka after they beat the the final match of the Emirates Airline Rugby Sevens in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. Connor Braid then closed out the scoring for Canada. We really pushed on from games one and two, where we went up against some of the best in the world and came out with some positives.

Zimbabwe finished their campaign with a narrow 14-10 defeat to former World Champions Wales in the 13th place semi-final which meant they finished last in the event alongside continental rivals Kenya. A crucial turn over in the last play of the game by debutant Scott Gregory secured the 7-5 victory, and was also awarded the UL Mark of Excellence as "Moment of the Tournament".

The Cheetahs, as the national Sevens side is affectionately known, took part in the Dubai Sevens which is the opening leg of the 2018/19 World Rugby Sevens Series on an invitation as reward for winning the Africa Cup title in November.

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