GLASGOW (AFP) - Four-time champions New Zealand moved into the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games rugby sevens after seeing off Kenya 19-7 at Ibrox Stadium on Sunday.
The all-conquering All Blacks will play Delhi silver medallists Australia, who secured a last-gasp 21-19 victory over 2009 world champions Wales.
DJ Forbes, as he’d done in the Kiwis’ narrow 17-14 pool win over Scotland on Saturday, mustered his teammates to cool heads after Kenya pulled back to 12-7.
The impressive Ben Lam scored New Zealand’s third try to appease any concerns, but victory came at a price after Pita Ahki sustained a hamstring injury.
“He is probably ruled out now. He has done his hamstring so he will be out for the rest of the tournament,” said Kiwi playmaker Sherwin Stowers.
“It leaves us one man short and means that everyone else needs to step up and do their role.” Australia did well to pull back from an awful start against Wales.
“Three tries down was the worst possible start,” said Wallaby man-mountain Pama Fou. “The score before half-time was very crucial. We always knew we had it in us, we believe in one another. It feels awesome to score the winner.
“We trained our arses off for the last six weeks for this moment. We can go all the way for sure. It’s just about belief.” The other semi-final will pitch Samoa, 15-14 victors over England, against Delhi bronze medallists South Africa, who ran out 35-12 winners over Scotland, to the disappointment of a raucous near-capacity crowd at Ibrox Stadium, home to European football giants Rangers.
England suffered a blow when James Rodwell was controversially yellow-carded before half-time, Samoa making the most of a powerplay to take the lead at 10-7 at the break.
Samoa scored with Rodwell in the bin, and Sam Lio Lolo crossed for another with an acrobatic touchdown in the corner for a 15-7 lead, all three conversions missed.
Dan Norton collected his own chip ahead for a converted try to pull England back within a point, but a physical Samoan side clung on for victory.
The Scots, boasting full internationals Stuart Hogg and Sean Lamont in their ranks, were well beaten by the Springboks.
Cornal Hendricks opened the scoring for the Africans, with Cecil Afrika pulling the shots in midfield.
Franco du Preez converted and then produced a moment of individual brilliance to slice through the Scottish defence for a second try, but then went off injured.
Seabelo Senatla got the ‘Boks’ third, but the Scots pulled two back either side of halftime through Mark Bennett and Lee Jones.
But Senatla got his second and Afrika wrapped things up in comprehensive fashion with his own try under the posts to break Scottish hearts.