x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

New Zealand win Dubai Sevens

DJ Forbes leads the old guard to victory as New Zealand shake off a poor season and lift the Dubai Sevens title.

DJ Forbes holds aloft the winning trophy along with his teammates.
DJ Forbes holds aloft the winning trophy along with his teammates.

DUBAI // DJ Forbes hoisted aloft the Emirates International Trophy for the second time in three years as New Zealand's old guard muscled them back into the sevens winner's circle last night with a 24-12 win over Samoa in the final of the Dubai Sevens. The New Zealanders arrived in the UAE with relatively modest ambitions having played no preparatory tournaments, as well as coming off the back of their worst season in IRB series history.

Yet they proved that writing off a side including sevens stalwarts like Forbes, Zar Lawrence and Tomasi Cama, who scored a brace of tries in the final, is foolhardy. "Some of these boys haven't won a tournament yet, so it was a relief to get their first tourney," said Forbes. "A lot rested on us older guys, and I think we got the reward for all the hard work we have put in."

Gordon Tietjens, the coach, praised his players. "These boys have put in a lot of hard work and when you work hard you get the riches," he said. "I thought before the tournament we may have been underdone. To be good at sevens you have to be playing it." Cama touched down the opening score, having already made a vital contribution. He had halted a break from Mikaele Pesamin which would likely have ended in five points. Forbes went over soon after as the New Zealanders established a firm hold on the game in the first-half.

Ruepena Levasa revived Samoan hopes when he barged over just after half-time, then Pesamino struck for a score of his own. The pendulum swung back to the New Zealanders when Kurt Baker, jinked through the Samoan defence to score, before Cama set the seal on the win. @Email:pradley@thenational.ae