NZ wins Wellington SevensSevens in style - unearths new star...
Three tries to speedster Declan O'Donnell ensured New Zealand landed the Wellington sevens rugby tournament crown with an emphatic 29-14 win over England tonight.
The Waikato teenager had earlier scored twice against Australia to send the hosts into the final and it was his blistering speed and the team's defiance after the loss of captain DJ Forbes early in the match that saw them claim their fifth Wellington title and a share of the world series lead.
Forbes, playing in his 38th sevens tournament, left the field with a knee injury following Isoa Damu's try that handed England, winners here in 2009, a 7-0 lead.
But New Zealand drew inspiration from old hands Tomasi Cama, Lote Raikabula and Forbes' replacement Solomon King to score 29 unanswered points to deny England.
Cama provided the first try for the busy Toby Arnold, before 19-year-old O'Donnell sparked into life in wet conditions.
He fended off Dan Norton twice to score under the posts and give New Zealand a 12-7 lead at the break.
From the restart, New Zealand pounced on an England error and Arnold repaid the favour for Cama who sold an outrageous dummy to scoot over next to the posts.
O'Donnell, who overcame an ankle injury to play in the tournament, then showed why he is being tipped for big things with a 80-metre dash to the line after New Zealand had soaked up concerted England pressure.
He had his third try and his 10th for the tournament with 90 seconds left and despite a minor melee near the close the final say went to England with substitute Simon Hunt scoring their second try.
New Zealand had earlier beaten Australia 17-0 to make the final, while England, who held the outright world series lead heading into the final, beat Samoa 7-5.
In addition to O'Donnell's two tries in the semi-final, Tim Mikkelson scored from 50 metres out and New Zealand withstood the sinbinning of playmaker Cama midway through the second half.
A conversion was all that separated England from Samoa in the other semi-final. The leading points scorer in international sevens, Ben Gollings, dinked over the extra points to give England a two-point lead but they then had to dig deep to deny a late surge from Samoa.
England, down a man after repeated infringing, were almost undone with time up on the clock.
Reupena Levasa opted for the kick and chase and it looked to have paid dividends only for his third kick to slide dead in goal with the try line begging.
Samoa, who struggled on the first day and had been thumped 29-5 by Australia in their final pool match, had made the semi-final after a surprise defeat of the in-form Fiji.
They led at the break after an unconverted try to Ofisa Treviranus, but England's John Brake capped a 95-metre move by England to give Gollings the chance to put them into the lead.
Elsewhere, defending champions Fiji won the plate final after beating South Africa 26-12, Kenya won the bowl after downing Tonga 19-0 and United States beat France 19-12 to claim the shield.