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Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2006, 11:28 GMT
England miss out on sevens gold
Nigel Hunt (top) and Onosa'i Tololima-Auva'a celebrate the victory
New Zealand have now won three straight Commonwealth golds
England had to settle for silver in the rugby sevens competition after losing 29-21 to New Zealand in the final.

England went behind early on but Mathew Tait continued his blistering form with a stunning try on three minutes.

Josh Blackie replied and Lote Raikabula crossed just before half-time to put New Zealand 15-7 ahead at the break.

Andrew Vilk crossed early in the second half to make the score 15-14 but two further tries ended England hopes although Ben Gollings scored late on.

New Zealand have now won three straight Commonwealth golds and they have not lost a sevens match in the Games since the sport was introduced in 1998.

New Zealand just caught us totally cold
England's Henry Paul

The silver is England's first rugby sevens Commonwealth medal but coach Mike Friday was disappointed that his team came up short.

"We came here for the gold medal and we are not going to hide the fact that we are bitterly disappointed," he told BBC Sport.

"We've won a medal which is something that has never been achieved in the Commonwealth Games sevens and that is some consolation."

England's Henry Paul admitted he should take some of the blame for the defeat at the Telstra Dome.

"We needed someone to stand up tonight, that someone was me and I didn't do it. I'm gutted," he told BBC Sport.

Scott Fava has had some sort of fit out there but hopefully he's OK
Australia coach Glen Ella

"I just don't understand it. They played a totally different game to everyone else and we just couldn't react to it.

"They just caught us totally cold and that 20 minutes felt like a bloody long time."

Meanwhile, Fiji won the bronze medal after defeating hosts Australia 24-17 in the third-place play-off with Neumi Nanuku scoring a hat-trick.

However, the game was overshadowed by a sickening incident involving Australia Test back-rower Scott Fava in the second half.

Fava hit the floor heavily after bouncing off a Fiji player and started convulsing on the pitch.

The game was stopped as he received lengthy treatment and after around 10 minutes he was stretchered off in a neck brace.

He was taken the Royal Melbourne Hospital for scans and a team spokesman said Fava was in a stable condition and undergoing a series of tests.

Australia coach Glen Ella said: "He's had some sort of fit out there but hopefully he's OK.

Mathew Tait heads for the try-line against New Zealand
Tait scored a total of nine tries in Melbourne

"He seems to have come out of it but he doesn't know where he is."

Earlier, England booked their place in the final after Tait scored twice in the 21-14 semi-final victory over Fiji.

Tait's display led Paul to say that the Newcastle centre was "among the very best I have ever played with in league or union".

Tait scored a hat-trick in the 17-14 quarter-final win over Samoa, the last try coming in the closing seconds, and ended as the tournament's top points scorer with 45.

New Zealand reached the final after beating Australia 21-19 in the semis.

In the Plate final, Wales won a remarkable match after fighting back from deficits of 14-0 and 28-12 to defeat South Africa 29-28.

Tonga reached the last two of the Bowl after defeating Scotland 12-5 in the semis but lost 26-12 to Kenya in the final.





Links to more Commonwealth Games stories


 



SEE ALSO
England top group in rugby sevens
16 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Tait tipped for England comeback
15 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games


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