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Updated: October 12, 2010 18:59 IST

New Zealand win rugby sevens gold medal

Kunal Diwan
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New Zealand's Kurt Baker celebrates as he runs to score the last try against Australia in their rugby sevens final match during the Commonwealth Games at Delhi University in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. New Zealand won 24-17.
AP
New Zealand's Kurt Baker celebrates as he runs to score the last try against Australia in their rugby sevens final match during the Commonwealth Games at Delhi University in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. New Zealand won 24-17.

New Zealand powered to a gold medal in the Rugby Sevens, rallying from a ten-point deficit to beat Australia 24-17 at the University Stadium here on Tuesday.

This was the country’s fourth successive triumph in the discipline – since the event was included for the first time in Malaysia, 1998.

Australia led 10-7 at half-time, through tries from Lachie Turner and Luke Morahan, and 17-7 two minutes into the second half – courtesy a James Stannard try – but wasn’t able to hold back the black marauders in the second session.

New Zealand roused from its slumber as Sherwin Stowers rampaged ahead to reduce the deficit in the 14th minute. Moments later, D. Forbes emerged unscathed from a skirmish near the tryline and heaved himself across for another try, making it 19-17 in New Zealand’s favour.

With a shade over a minute to go, and New Zealand two points ahead, yellow-shirted Nick Phillips streaked away on a long run that seemed destined to be decisive. Phillips was checked by a converging group in black a few yards in. And Kurt Baker disentangled himself from the ruckus to begin his own sprint toward a rightful culmination, making it 24-17 as the hooter sounded. The New Zealanders, after the medals ceremony, submitted to the demands of the crowd, divesting themselves of their shirts to perform the Haka, as shutterbugs, volunteers and pretty much everybody with ground access raced to vantage positions.

Earlier, South Africa took bronze, clawing back from 5-14 at the halfway mark against England to win 17-14. The Rainbow Nation profited from tries by Lubabalo Mtembu, Cecil Afrika, and Carl Botha.

India’s dismal performance in the event continued as it failed to make the semifinal stage of even the bowl event. In the quarterfinals of the third-rung activity, the host was shellacked 43-10 by Canada. The 10 points, however, was India’s highest score in the competition.

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