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Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK

All Blacks send Scots crashing

By Charlie Henderson
BBC Sport Online in Manchester

New Zealand, the top seeds and favourites for gold, have qualified for the quarter-finals with ease.

On the opening day they lived up to their billing in Pool A with comfortable wins that set them up for the second phase.

And on Saturday they consigned Scotland to a place in the minor tournament with a third victory, by 26-12.

Canada's 31-5 win over Niue Island cemented their place in the last eight.

Reports:

Pool A
Team W D L ForAgstPts
New Zealand 3 0 0 120 19 9
Canada 2 0 1 45 33 7
Scotland 1 0 2 66 38 5
Niue Island 0 0 3 10 151 3


New Zealand 28-7 Canada

Eric Rush led from the front as his New Zealand team overhauled an early deficit against Canada.

The All Blacks, favourites to defend their Commonwealth gold, eventually ran out comfortable winners.

But it was Rush, a 37-year-old legend of the shortened version of the game, who turned the tide, crossing twice in quick succession in the first half.

A much-hyped future legend of the game in New Zeland, Amasio Valence, also gave notice of his talent with the last try of the match.

"We were pretty scratchy and, if there was any complacency before, there certainly isn't now," Rush said.

"The competition's going to be tough and, from what I've seen, there are four or five teams that can win it."


Scotland 54-5 Niue Island

The second match in Pool B saw the smallest team in the competition take their bow.

And Niue received one of the largest cheers of the night when Hayden Head scored to level the match at five points apiece.

However, that early score was to prove their last as the Scots dominated the rest of the match.

Marcus di Rollo scored a total of 20 points, including two tries.

"It was a good start and we denied Niue the ball for most of the time,"Scottish manager Roy Laidlaw reflected.

"I'm buggered now," Niue's Matt Faleuka said. "But it was really awesome out there. For us it's just great meeting our heroes."


New Zealand 66-0 Niue Island

New Zealand ran any rustiness they showed in their first match out of their legs with an easy win over Niue.

The result was never in doubt and the first seeds comprehensively outplayed the 16th seeds.

Roger Randle scored a first-half hat-trick, with Amasio Valence crossing for a second-half brace.

Despite their 10-try loss Niue celebrated their participation in the event by performing a haka to the crowd after the final whistle.


Scotland 0-7 Canada

Scotland and Canada played out the most competitive match of the night with the Scots knowing a win would send them through with New Zealand.

The game got off to a stuttering start after a lengthy delay for an injury to Canada's George Dixon, but from then on in the action was a tense, tactical battle.

Winston Stanley scored the only try of the match on the stroke of half-time before the North Americans held on for a precious win in the second-half.

The win means Canada are virtually assured of qualification.


Canada 31-5 Niue Island

Despite vociferous support from the City of Manchester Stadium crowd, Niue lost their third match of the pool stages.

Matt Faleuka's second-half try lifted the roof in a match Canada otherwise dominated with five tries of their own.

The Cannucks were 19-0 up at half-time and the win all but cemented their place in the knock-out stages.


New Zealand 26-12 Scotland

New Zealand cruised into the quarter-finals with another comfortable victory.

Following Brad Fleming's try in the opening minutes they never looked in any danger against a passionate but limited Scotland.

Captain Eric Rush scored two of New Zealand's four tries. But his side also showed a darker side to their play.

Karl Te Nana was sent to the sin bin for punching and Rodney So'oialo and Amasio Valence were also warned by the referee.

Scotland took immediate advantage of Te Nana's two minute absence with a try from Scott Patterson, who also crossed for a second on the final whistle.


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