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NZ overwhelmed at Dubai sevens

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/12/2016

The post-Tietjens era has begun in ignominious fashion for the All Blacks Sevens.

After squeaking into the quarter-finals of the opening world series tournament in Dubai, an under-prepared New Zealand were routed 40-0 by South Africa.

They then went down 20-12 to Australia in a classification game, their third defeat of the week to reduce them to seventh place.

South Africa went on to beat Olympic gold medallists and two-time defending series champions Fiji 26-14 in the final.

New Zealand looked well off the pace, with their preparation affected by the relatively late confirmation of a coach to replace decorated 23-year mentor Sir Gordon Tietjens.

Tomasi Cama and Scott Waldrom were appointed on an interim basis and a lack of time together was apparent as the Blitzboks ran in three tries in each half.

South Africa's speed advantage was telling, as was the case on Friday when New Zealand lost 26-12 to England in pool play.

The Blitzboks dominated possession and found it straightforward to create space for the likes of impressive speedsters Seabelo Senatla and Werner Kok.

In the classification game, tries to Sherwin Stowers and Tim Mikkelson had New Zealand 12-10 up over Australia before the concession of two late tries ended a forgettable two days.

Captain Scott Curry says comfortable opening pool wins over Russia and Samoa probably gave his new-look team a false impression of what would be required.

"We can't really use inexperience as an excuse. We're still running out there in a black jersey," Curry said.

"It was a pretty tough weekend at the office but those guys have had that test now and I expect them to do a lot better next week.

"We've still got a lot to learn and we're still pretty fresh as a squad."

The second tournament is in Cape Town next week, where New Zealand will meet Argentina, Canada and England in pool play.

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