WELLINGTON: New Zealand broke a four-year drought when they beat England 38-26 to win the Wellington international rugby sevens tournament here yesterday.
After failing to win the event in each of the last three years, the world champions sent a crowd of 32,000 into raptures by winning a thrilling final to cap a dramatic 24-22 semi-final win over Fiji.
England, who toppled Australia 21-15 in the semis, were chasing their second title in a week after winning the Brisbane leg of the International Rugby Board (IRB) world series last week.
However, they couldn't match the experience of the New Zealanders, who scored six tries to four and led 17-14 at half-time.
New Zealand dominated the early possession and led 10-0 inside four minutes with well-worked tries down the left to Roy Kinikinilau and Tafai Ioasa.
Henry Paul, the former New Zealand rugby league international, was outstanding for England and opened their scoring with a fine individual try.
England took the lead for the first time when Ben Gollings scored just 30 seconds after half-time. The lead changed three more times in a thrilling end to the tournament.
But England's hopes dived when Simon Amor was sinbinned for a late tackle.
The New Zealanders made the game safe when Anthony Tuitavake broke a tired tackle to score on the stroke of full-time.
New Zealand extended their lead after four rounds of the 11-leg series. They have 68 points, with Fiji on 56 and England leapfrogging Australia into third place on 46. – AFP