New Zealand’s record 10th appearance in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens Cup final saw them end their title drought at the 7he Sevens Stadium, the 21-5 victory over USA giving the All Blacks Sevens their first title here since 2009.
They had gone into the final with only nine fit players with captain Scott Curry among the injured quartet and came up against a USA side playing in their first Cup final in Dubai only a year after losing all five of their matches.
It took five minutes for the first try to come in a pulsating and energy-sapping final, Tone Ng Shiu powering through the clutches of Ben Pinkelman with Andrew Knewstubb adding the conversion for a 7-0 half-time score.
New Zealand lost Luke Masirewa to the sin-bin and in his absence the USA hit back, Stephen Tomasin running in the try but captain Madison Hughes’ conversion went just wide of the left upright.
There was to be no first Dubai title for USA, though, as tries by Dylan Collier and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black ensured it would be New Zealand celebrating a long-awaited sixth Dubai title.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) December 1, 2018
“There wasn’t much said [before the final],” said Knewstubb, who was named the HSBC Player of the Final. “You just look across at your mates there, they look at you, and you just connect on the field. Off the field as well we’re all great mates. Even the boys back home who couldn’t be here, I know they were cheering us on.”
Sione Molia added: “It was really unfortunate for us [to have so many injures] but we knew we had to get our heads down and start working coming into this final against a really good USA Team. The boys put an unreal shift out there and we’re really happy.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now