New Zealand vs Scotland – USA Sevens Rugby
26 - 17
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Pool DSam Boyd Stadium03/03/201811:52 AM2018 USA Sevens

With each side having lost to Argentina, this match was for the right to advance to the quarterfinal, a mark New Zealand has never failed to accomplish. Precisely one minute into the match, Sione Molia helped to raise the New Zealand hopes of continuing the remarkable streak of quarterfinals, with a try to the right of the post. Andrew Knewstubb’s conversion kick was on target for the early 7–0 lead.

Scotland bolstered its own hopes when Jamie Farndale capped off a dramatic series of play on the right wing that he began before connecting with Joe Nayacavou and Gavin Lowe before himself crossing for the try. The conversion was astray, keeping Scotland behind. But the restart kick changed that in a heartbeat when the All Blacks Sevens allowed the ball to hit the deck, bouncing directly into the hands of an unmarked Nayacavou. Lowe could not overcome the wind on the long-distance kick.

Facing unfamiliar territory, New Zealand mounted a response, with the score coming on the left wing from Vilimoni Koroi. Despite the tough angle, Knewstubb put the kick over for the points and the 14–10 lead. New Zealand was further aided when the restart kick was dropped by Scottish captain Scott Riddell who took his eye off the ball at the wrong time. The error allowed New Zealand to extend the lead before the break with a try by Regan Ware and conversion from Knewstubb, setting the halftime advantage at 21–10, following fourteen unanswered points.

In the second half, New Zealand threatened early, but Scotland managed a dramatic defense on its own try line for the first two minutes of play. Following a clearance kick, New Zealand continued to hog possession for another full minute until Scotland’s resilient defensive front was rewarded with a turnover. Needing two tries and a conversion, Scotland had a quarter of the match left to play.

Having fought so hard to prevent a fourth New Zealand score, Scotland’s possession was fruitless as exhausted legs could not gain much ground. New Zealand regained possession as the clock ticked under two minutes and booted a penalty into touch, eight meters out from the Scottish line. With 1:15 left, Sam Dickson drove through a tackle to add the five-pointer in the left corner and secure New Zealand’s 161st-consecutive quarterfinal appearance in World Series play. With the clock showing zeros, Nyle Godsmark managed a consolation try for Scotland, but even with the conversion, it was too little too late: New Zealand 26, Scotland 17.

New Zealand will advance to the quarterfinal, while Scotland is left to contest for the challenge trophy.