Tue, Mar 19, 2002 - Page 16 News List

Kiwis win sevens tournament, while Taiwan limps home

By Jules Quartly  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Taiwan was given a pasting at the Beijing Sevens tournament by the giants of the game, but managed to hold its own against regional contenders.

Though Taiwan lost all its games at the tournament in China, it did reasonably well against Japan in a 24-12 loss to the respected Asian team.

Taiwan will not improve its 23rd place in the international sevens standings, but should not lose ground against 66 other teams that were rated below it.

New Zealand, meanwhile, proved once again that it's the team to beat in world rugby, with a good-looking victory over the Springboks 41-14 in the final at the Olympic Stadium in Beijing.

As a result the Kiwis maintain first place in the rankings and should be full of vim for the Hong Kong Tournament later on this week.

The win turned around a loss to South Africa in Wellington in January.

Gordon Tietjens, the experienced New Zealand coach, told rugby7.com Web site, "In Wellington, we were comprehensively beaten by South Africa, so today's performance was very pleasing.

"Our young players did well. After Wellington I decided I had to go out and find some pace for the team."

France won the Bowl Final, beating Canada 33-14. In the semifinals, France beat South Korea and a rampant Canada took down Wales 29-17.

Taiwan was entered in the Bowl quarterfinals, but lost 40-17 against Canada, though the first half was a hard-fought affair.

In the first round Taiwan came up against Fiji and was trounced 53-5. In its game against No. 2 sevens rugby team Australia, Taiwan was unable to score a point in a 56-0 drubbing.

France also beat Taiwan 42-7, in a one-sided match earlier in the tournament.

The internationally renowned Hong Kong Sevens starts this Friday.

Taiwan is entered for the event, which first ran in 1976 and is now run in conjunction with the International Rugby Board, which has developed the World Sevens Series.

International teams participate in a series of sevens tournaments around the world, with the team at the top of the standings at the end of the year becoming the world champion.

Right from the start Asian teams have been a mainstay of rugby sevens competition in Hong Kong, with Fiji, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Tonga and Malaysia all sending teams to the first tournament in 1976.

Taiwan will be hard pressed to advance from Pool B, in which it will face Canada again and South Africa, though it will hope to pick up a victory against Papua New Guinea.

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