Kiwis win Glasgow Sevens
New Zealand won the penultimate leg of the IRB’s Sevens World Series on Sunday after beating England 29-14 in the final in Glasgow. The victory increases the Kiwis’ lead to 11 points over closest rivals Fiji, ahead of the last round at Twickenham next Saturday and Sunday. Fiji finished strongly to beat Australia to third place, but New Zealand will go to London knowing that a place in the Plate final would suffice to retain their World Series crown. New Zealand have 150 points, with Fiji on 139. England’s run to the final lifted them above South Africa into third on 123, with the Blitzbokke (115), Glasgow Plate winners Samoa (114) and Australia (99) completing the top six. Tim Mikkelson and captain DJ Forbes scored either side of James Rodwell’s try for England to give New Zealand a 12-7 lead at halftime in the final. That lead grew when Ardie Savea touched down a minute into the second half and, although Dan Norton cut the deficit, there was to be no denying New Zealand with Lote Raikabula and Forbes crossing the try-line.
Finland winners at worlds
A goal by Janne Pesonen helped hosts Finland eke out a 1-0 over Slovakia at the world championship in Helsinki and France ran out 6-3 winners against Kazakhstan despite having Sacha Treille ejected from the game. Treille was expelled during the second period for a hit to the head on Roman Starchenko and could receive further punishment from the IIHF disciplinary committee. During the game at the Hartwall Arena, fans criticizing the cost of tickets had their banners confiscated. Security at the arena told fans the banners constituted a fire risk, Finnish state broadcaster YLE said. Finland, who are hosting the tournament with Sweden, put in another excellent defensive performance against Slovakia, but struggled in front of goal. They managed only 22 shots, failed to convert on five power plays and had to rely on goalkeeper Petri Vehanen’s 26 stops to win the game. In the late game at the Hartwall, goaltender Tobias Stephan saved a penalty with 4:36 left in the game as Switzerland hung on to beat Belarus 3-2.
Player hit by ball, dies
A 24-year-old player died after being hit on the head by a ball during a women’s league match in Western Australia state. Lizzie Watkins was playing for North Coast Raiders in a state league match against Victoria Park Panthers late on Sunday when she slumped to the ground unconscious after a ball deflected into her head. She reportedly died on the way to hospital. Australia’s men’s team, the Kookaburras, wore black armbands in the final of a tournament in London overnight as a sign of respect. Kookaburras player Jamie Dwyer tweeted: “All the Kookaburras thoughts are with the Watkins family after the devastating news. Such a sad day in the [field] hockey world.”
Boxer dies in Tahiti
New Zealand media reports said a New Zealand boxer died in Tahiti after collapsing only 32 seconds into his first professional bout. Peruvian-born Willman Rodriguez Gonzalez, 29, was fighting Tahitian Karihi Tehei in a lightweight bout at the Min-Ah Boxing Club when collapsed in convulsions, reports said. He was treated by medical attendants and rushed to the main hospital in the capital Papeete, but was dead on arrival. An autopsy will be conducted and an inquest held to determine the cause of death.