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All Blacks Sevens veteran’s candid assessment of ‘tough’ day in Cape Town

By Finn Morton
New Zealand's Scott Curry (R) tackles Samoa's Motu Opetai (L) during the men's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 pool C match between New Zealand and Samoa at the Cape Town stadium in Cape Town on December 9, 2023. (Photo by Rodger Bosch / AFP) (Photo by RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images)

Walking in silence away from the buzzing fandom of supporters, the All Blacks Sevens were visibly disappointed as they walked down the Cape Town Stadium tunnel on Saturday.

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For a team that harboured genuine ambitions of winning it all at the Cape Town SVNS this weekend, New Zealand’s quest had taken a tough blow with a 21-14 loss to rivals Samoa in the early evening.

That defeat sealed the All Blacks Sevens’ uncharacteristically poor finish in Pool C, with an earlier loss to surprise package Canada seeing the Kiwis finish in third place.

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New Zealand managed to record what seemed to be a statement 35-5 win over Trans-Tasman foe Australia in between those other games, but their success was short-lived in the end.

With their entire Cape Town SVNS campaign hanging in the balance, the New Zealanders walked towards their changeroom in silence – with some players looking blankly at the ground.

It was almost painfully clear how visibly upset the players seemed to be after a “patchy” day at the office, but veteran Scott Curry took a moment to affirm that the team “can be a lot better.”

“I felt we didn’t really get into the game in that last one,” Curry told RugbyPass.

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“I mean we could see what we do when we get a bit of ball and play well against Australia but the World Series is tough these days.

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“Every game is tough so you’ve got to be on every single time, every minute, every game.

“We probably didn’t quite play as well as we wanted to in that last game but I think we’re taking what we’re doing in preparation around our analysis of other teams and we’re actually putting it onto the park,” he added.

“We just need to be a little bit tidier around our ball retention. That’s probably the only thing that’s going to kill us, I think.”

The All Blacks Sevens couldn’t have started the match any better, and maybe that’s what made the terrible taste of defeat so bitter and tough to swallow.

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Ngarohi McGarvey-Black pounced on a bouncing ball to race down the field, with the playmaker throwing an ambitious cut-out pass to Sione Molia for a try after just 14 seconds.

But the All Blacks Sevens’ next score wouldn’t come until the last minute, with three tries for Samoa seeing the Pacific Islanders race out to a somewhat comfortable 21-7 lead.

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While Scott Curry’s try in the final minute offered the New Zealanders a glimmer of hope, it wasn’t to be as Samoa held on for a promising victory.

“It’s always a big physical battle against our Samoan brothers. It was sort of tit for tat there and probably just guilty of giving away possession a little bit too easily,” Curry said.

“They took their opportunities when they had them and we couldn’t fight our way back into it that time.”

With the new-look SVNS series granting two third-placed sides safe passage through to the quarter-finals, the All Blacks Sevens were handed a lifeline in South Africa.

New Zealand have progressed through to the cup quarter-finals where they’ll face Ireland – who beat hosts South Africa in the final game on day one – at 10.56 am local time.

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3 Comments
P
Pecos 186 days ago

That last try made all the difference giving us a bonus point loss. Otherwise we were out of the 1/4s. As it is, we get Ireland, probably a better (but still very difficult) option than Blitzboks, Fiji or Los Pumas.

Still, none of this matters as it all comes down to a Top 8 winner take all finals round, the week after the 7 qualifying tourneys.

On another note, great hearing the Aussie commentator spluttering away in disbelief as we made our way to HT at 35-0 lmao.

A
Andrew 186 days ago

Got complacent after last yr. Defence fizzling out.

C
Chris 186 days ago

Canada 😳 wow

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