Rugby: New Zealand win opening round of the Sevens World Series at Gold Coast

GOLD COAST, Australia (AFP) - World champions New Zealand overpowered hosts Australia to win their first Gold Coast IRB Sevens crown 40-19 in the final on Sunday.

The Australians began strongly and led 12-0 inside the opening 90 seconds, but the Kiwis took charge, posting the next unanswered 33 points before the home side scored again.

New Zealand scored six tries to three to win the opening round of the Sevens World Series in defence of their title.

"We've always planned to start the series well," New Zealand captain DJ Forbes said. "To finally knock it on the head and start the tournament with a bang, hopefully is going to set us up for another big season."

New Zealand, who won in Adelaide in 2011, had finished runners-up to Fiji in the past two years. This year, the Fijians were knocked out in the quarter-finals by England 26-12.

The hosts stormed to a 12-0 lead in the final following tries from captain Ed Jenkins and James Stannard, but once New Zealand got into their stride, they brushed the Aussies aside.

Speedster Ambrose Curtis scored a double and Tomasi Cama landed two conversions from wide out for a 14-12 lead at half-time.

Veteran Cama scored a third try for New Zealand after the break, before Waisake Naholo and Joe Webber put them out of reach.

Cameron Clark finally broke the Kiwi flow of points with a run-away try, but New Zealand's David Raikuna went over under the crossbar as the final siren sounded.

The Australians faded after feeling the effects of a gruelling 24-19 semi-final win over South Africa, which took two periods of sudden-death extra time.

It capped a dominant tournament by Gordon Tietjens' New Zealanders, who did not concede a point on their way to the semi-finals, and were only really challenged by England in a narrow 14-5 semi-final win.

England beat South Africa 47-0 to take third place in the tournament, running in seven tries with two each from forwards Phil Burgess and James Rodwell, a brace from flyhalf Dan Bibby and a fourth of the day from Mike Ellery.

Fiji, who also lost to Wales this weekend, beat Kenya 36-0 to win the Plate final.

The next stop in the world series is the Dubai Sevens on Nov 29-30.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.