Title race over for NZ sevens
New Zealand will surrender their world rugby sevens series title after bowing out of the quarterfinals of the Adelaide round yesterday.
Having won eight of the nine previous versions of the International Rugby Board series, the New Zealanders cannot pass leaders South Africa in the two remaining rounds.New Zealand slumped to fifth in the standings on 64 points after losing 17-0 to the South Africans yesterday and then 14-21 to England in the Plate semifinals.South Africa lead on 104 points following their 26-7 defeat of Kenya.
New Zealand, who are yet to win a tournament, could draw level on points if they win the final two legs in London and Edinburgh in May and June, as long as South Africa fail to secure a point.Even then, they would lose out on a countback as South Africa have won three tournaments.Three teams with an outside chance of overhauling South Africa are England (76 points), Fiji (74) and Argentina (68).Veteran New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens, whose team also bowed out in the quarterfinals of the World Cup at Dubai last month, wearily conceded their title defence was over.We're certainly out for the count, it's been a long three weeks," he told the IRB website."We've taken our fair share of injuries, I suppose, and the guys are quite fatigued."And we've only had a couple of days to get up to speed for this tournament but every team's in the same conditions so there's no real excuses."