In a dramatic match, which featured a late red card for Samoa’s Paul Scanlan, and an early yellow card for New Zealand skipper Sam Dickson, the All Blacks Sevens eased to a 22-14 victory after scoring two tries in the final two minutes.
Moses Leo opened New Zealand’s account with an excellent individual try after only one minute, but then the Kiwis had to dig deep to cope with the sinbinning of Dickson, who was shown a yellow card by referee Tevita Rokoverani for throwing the ball away after conceding a penalty. It was Dickson's second of the tournament.
Samoa, who like New Zealand, have had to endure a World Series hiatus due to the pandemic, cashed in with a converted try for Steve Onosai, but a blunder near halftime by Samoa allowed the All Blacks Sevens back in.
With five seconds of the half left, Samoa, assuming the hooter had gone, kicked the ball out near their own line, and, after a sustained attack by New Zealand, they were made to pay when Brady Rush, the son of sevens legend Eric, scored.
However, New Zealand’s 12-7 halftime lead didn’t last long, Onosai scoring his second try, which was converted, to put Samoa ahead.
With time running out, New Zealand controlled possession but struggled to get across the line, with Leroy Carter just short.
However, from the scrum, New Zealand camped on Samoa’s line and eventually crossed it via 19-year-old Caleb Tangitau, who went over in the corner with 54 seconds remaining. He was taken in a high tackle by Scanlan, who was shown a second yellow card, and therefore, a red.
Not content with defending their lead, New Zealand continued to attack and were rewarded with a try in the left corner for Kitiona Vai.
New Zealand, the Olympic silver medallists but missing the experience of veterans Scott Curry and Tim Mikkelson, were unbeaten in pool play, accounting for Argentina, Scotland and Wales.
The Irish qualified to play New Zealand in the semifinal after beating USA 14-12 in their quarter-final. The New Zealand v Ireland match is scheduled to kick-off at 8.35pm NZT.
A dangerous looking Australia, who thrashed England 40-0 in their final pool game, beat Argentina 29-5 in their quarter-final, and will face Fiji, who hung on to beat South Africa 19-12, in the other semifinal.
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