Cup champion in Sydney last month for its last outing, New Zealand mixed and matched with its selections, changing out several players from the opening 33-0 win over Samoa for the 33-19 victory over Canada later in the day.
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There remains one further pool game, against Spain tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 9.36am NZT. Victory there would see Clark Laidlaw’s charges top their pool for their first time since 2014 in the US city.
They were more impressive in the opener, blanking Samoa with some tight defence and finding early flow on attack. Some of the passing and support play was of the highest order. Regan Ware and co-captain Sione Molia, with doubles, were the primary beneficiaries. Molia’s first score was his 50th on the circuit. His second came from an overthrown lineout by Samoa. He also had a hand, delivering the last pass, in Ware’s first try.
After making a raft of changes to the starting seven, New Zealand found Canada a much tougher proposition both with and without the ball. The Maple Leafs laid on three tries, including one consolation after Trael Joass was shown yellow for a dangerous tackle, while New Zealand made one of two errors it will be keen to eradicate on days two and three.
Joe Ravouvou showed his pace, outstripping the cover for his try, while co-captain Tim Mikkelson crossed for a brace.
Amazing night at the #ParadeofNations as all 16 teams were welcomed ahead of the #USA7s in Las Vegas this weekend pic.twitter.com/7rgpF9q3qR— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) March 1, 2019