New Zealand out of San Diego Sevens
NZPA - 16/02/2009
An injury-plagued New Zealand were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the International Rugby Board sevens tournament in San Diego, losing 19-7 to South Africa this morning. A late try to Vuyo Zangqa decided the contest after New Zealand had closed to 12-7 with a try by Viliame Waqaseduadua on the stroke of halftime. The Zangqa try was set up by Ryno Benjamin, who appeared lucky to stay on the field following an apparent headbutt to New Zealand forward Tu Umaga Marshall moments earlier. New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens, who was forced to leave out key players DJ Forbes, Tomasi Cama and Edwin Cocker with injury, had his team weakened further during pool play yesterday. Tim Mikkelson was ruled out of the tournament with a serious shoulder injury while Umaga Marshall, Chad Tuoro and Save Tokula were all carrying niggles. Yesterday New Zealand suffered their first loss in 14 matches against Kenya, going down 24-7, after having beaten France 22-12 and Uruguay 53-0. Series leaders South Africa took advantage of possession and territorial dominance to be 12-0 up inside five minutes thanks to tries to Philip Snyman and Robert Ebersohn. Waqaseduadua's response was a superb individual effort down the right touchline, using his pace and step to beat two defenders. The match was a repeat of last year's final here, won comfortably by New Zealand.