The All Blacks’ Sevens entered the tournament in seventh place in the series and after a couple of solid wins in pool play against Russia and Scotland they ended the first day on a high with a 19-14 win over series co-leaders South Africa.
The New Zealanders made numerous mistakes throughout the game and were behind when the final hooter sounded, before Sonny Bill Williams made up for an earlier mistake with one of his trademark off-loads which set up the match winning try for Joe Weber.
Coach Gordon Tietjens says that win will do a lot for his side heading into day two.
“That win they showed a lot of character and a lot of resilience scoring after the death, because that’s what it takes and just hugely proud of the guys as it will do a lot for the guys heading into day two.”
Tietjens picked a big side for this tournament knowing it is that type of player that will be needed to win in the future and he felt his big guys got stuck in.
“You know when we’re physical I believe we play well and if we can win the contact areas we’ll get better, so without mentioning names I felt for day one a great overall team performance.”
New Zealand will meet Kenya in today’s quarter-finals (1pm) and Tietjens said, “Kenya were the team that beat us one year here, they made the final here before and so they’re a team that has improved throughout the year and are always very very dangerous so we’ve got to play well to beat them.”
In the other quarter-finals, South Africa play Australia, England play Argentina and favourites Fiji play the USA