New Zealand defended its Wellington Sevens crown on the weekend, producing outstanding wins over Australia in the quarter-finals and South Africa in the semi-finals before downing England 27-21 in the final. It was the All Black Sevens’ fourth triumph in five seasons on home soil.
Legendary coach Sir Gordon Tietjiens also appears to have unearthed a new superstar in the abbreviated form of the game, with 17-year-old prodigy Reiko Ioane dominating in his debut tournament – including a two-try performance in the final.
The tall teenager bears more than a passing resemblance to Israel Folau – who coincidentally made his NRL debut at 17 – in appearance and playing style.
While Ioane was brilliant as a replacement for veteran Sevens great Tim Mikkelson, it surely will not be long before ITM Cup teams and Super Rugby franchises are knocking on the youngster’s door to test his mettle in 15-a-side rugby.
The victory saw New Zealand climb into second spot in World Series standings behind South Africa. Fiji are third place, with Australia fourth and England rounding out the top five.