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New Zealand win their first Dubai Sevens since 2009

By Online Editors
New Zealand perform a celebratory haka (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

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.

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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.

“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.”

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finn 8 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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