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Don't panic over Sevens slump: Tietjens

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/05/2016

The All Blacks Sevens have been delivered a reality check 10 weeks out from the Rio Olympics, thrashed 42-14 by the United States in the quarter-finals of the final world series event.

New Zealand recovered from one of their heaviest losses to beat England 35-10 and Argentina 29-14 and win the second-tier Plate final at Twickenham.

It left them third overall in the world series which finished with the same top three as last year, with Fiji defending their crown ahead of South Africa.

Veteran coach Sir Gordon Tietjens isn't panicking despite his team failing to reach the semi-finals at the last three tournaments.

"We lost one game this weekend when we just didn't turn up, it was as simple as that," he said.

"You've got to learn from your losses and the way we bounced back to beat England and Argentina says that we have got the character. But to win any medal at the Olympic Games is going to be about consistency and getting up for every game."

The 10-leg series finished on a stunning note on Sunday, with Scotland beating South Africa 27-26 in the final to claim their first tournament title.

Two late tries to Dougie Fife sparked wild celebrations for the Scots, who fought back from 11 points down late in their first-ever final appearance.

Scotland, who are the seventh different winner in the last 11 world series tournaments, earlier beat the United States in the semi-finals while the Blitzboks beat Fiji.

Earlier, New Zealand failed to handle the pace of US winger Perry Baker, who scored four of their six tries. Rieko Ioane and Lewis Ormond scored tries to give the All Blacks Sevens an early 14-7 advantage.

New Zealand improved significantly against England, with outstanding 19-year-old Ioane bagging a hat-trick.

Second-half yellow cards to Augustine Pulu and Kurt Baker didn't impact on the outcome.

New Zealand scored five tries to two for the second successive game when downing the Pumas, with Ioane joined on the tryscorers' list by Pita Ahki, Gillies Kaka, Regan Ware and Teddy Stanaway.

It was nevertheless a flat finish to a world series which featured tournament wins at Wellington, Sydney and Vancouver.

"The world series which has proved, globally, the game is becoming more competitive," Tietjens said.

"It's been a real challenging season, we've certainly suffered a lot of injuries. To finish third isn't all bad."

Trials will be held in June before Tietjens unveils his squad for Rio.

FINAL STANDINGS: Fiji 181, South Africa 171, New Zealand 158, Australia 134, Argentina 119, United States 117, Kenya 98, England 92, Samoa 89, Scotland 87, France 85.

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