Fri, Mar 28, 2008 - Page 22 News List

New Zealand look to break Hong Kong Sevens hoodoo

AFP , HONG KONG

New Zealand skipper DJ Forbes poses following a press conference ahead of the IRB Sevens World Series cup tournament in Hong Kong yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

New Zealand have promised to guard against complacency as they look to extend their record streak of match wins and end a seven-year title drought at the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens this weekend.

New Zealand have swept all before them this season, winning in Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand and the US and they sit atop the IRB Sevens World Series with a maximum 80 points, 32 clear of second-placed South Africa.

The hot favorites beat South Africa in the US last month to extend their winning streak to 36 matches, and victory in Hong Kong would all but wrap up their eighth series title in nine years.

But coach Gordon Tietjens is determined not to allow any let-up as New Zealand seek their first win in Hong Kong, jewel in the world sevens series, since 2001.

Tietjens's charges will face the US, Tunisia and Taiwan in Pool A at the three-day tournament, which starts today. He said taking the title here was crucial because the winner earns 30 points, the most on offer in any event.

"Even though we have won the first four tournaments, we cannot afford to be complacent and it is important that we continue to stay focused and continue that momentum," Tietjens said.

New Zealand skipper DJ Forbes told reporters yesterday his side cannot leave anything to chance as they seek to continue their domination of this year's series.

"We take confidence from past results but we can't rest on past performances. You're only as good as your last game in sevens," he said.

New Zealand reclaimed their world sevens crown from Fiji last year in dramatic fashion when they won the last leg of the series in Edinburgh, their seventh victory since the series was created in 1999.

South Africa, who reached the semi-finals in Dubai and South Africa, are drawn in Pool C alongside Argentina, Russia and Japan as they bid for their first Hong Kong win.

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