All Blacks Sevens defend Los Angeles title

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In a repeat of the Hamilton decider, New Zealand jumped to a 17-0 lead at the interval with a determined, swift, and focused display.  Argentina rallied to narrow the deficit to 17-12 before Brady Rush sealed victory with the final try.

Moses Leo opened the All Blacks account with a thrilling breakout from inside his own 22. Receiving a tap pass from Sam Dickson, Leo got on the outside of Marcos Moneta and dashed all the way to the line despite a stubborn chase from the Argentina flyer.

Leroy Carter enjoyed an exceptional tournament, possibly his best in a black jersey. He scored eight tries overall and a double strike by the 23-year-old Tauranga talent had New Zealand in a commanding position at the break. Most impressively he showed he can operate with equal effectiveness on both flanks. His second try standing up a defender on the right side was sparked by an audacious goal-line attack.

Argentina is made of sturdy stuff and when Tobias Wade in the ninth minute and Agustin Fraga in the 12th minute scored tries suddenly New Zealand might have been having Hamilton flashbacks. Argentina was down 12-0 in that contest and came back for an unlikely triumph.

However, New Zealand held their nerve retrieving a fumbled kick-off. Brady Rush who cruelly knocked the ball over the line whilst attempting the winning play in Hamilton delivered a sweet knockout blow.

Earlier in the day New Zealand beat Great Britain 24-12 in the quarter-finals and Australia 33-17 in the semis to earn the right to defend their title. Carter and Leo hit the ground running scoring tires in the first two minutes against the British. Max McFarland and Kaleem Barreto tied the scores with a try each, but New Zealand had too much gas in the tank and Akuila Rokolisoa and Roderick Solo tries subdued a brave challenge.

The imperious form of Carter would continue in the semi-finals. He scored the first two tries of the match as New Zealand turned with a 14-5 advantage. Henry Paterson responded with a brace of his own for the Aussies, but New Zealand was generally in command. A try Roderick Solo scored from a chip and chase was an absolute delight while Lewis Ormond was rewarded for his grunt with a rare try, just his second in 20 matches this season.

New Zealand leads the World Series standings with 107 points, 21 ahead of Argentina and South Africa who are tied on 86 each. Reigning champions Australia have dropped to sixth place on 77 points. The next event is in Vancouver on March 3 where the Black Ferns Sevens will also be in action.


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