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All Blacks 7s to face Fiji in challenging Games semifinal

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The All Blacks sevens have comprehensively beaten Kenya 31-0 in their Commonwealth Games quarter-final to earn the right to face Fiji in the semifinal.

It was a victory in Coventry based on New Zealand’s vastly superior attack, with Regan Ware dotting down for tries either side of halftime, but also their defence.

Kenya have impressed with their defence at this tournament but New Zealand’s was far better and it was difficult to remember them missing a tackle during the more than 14 minutes of play.

Indeed, the first half totalled more than nine minutes, with the All Blacks sevens, up 5-0 and keen to cash in on their wealth of possession at the end of the first half, scoring via Ware two minutes after the halftime hooter.

Ngarohi McGarvey-Black had begun the scoring for New Zealand with a little more than three minutes remaining in the first half after a strong run by Scott Curry.

New Zealand, who have never failed to make the Commonwealth Games men’s sevens final, will have a very tough assignment in Fiji but they have in-form assets in forwards Curry and Sam Dickson, two men who wore down the Kenyan defence in the first half via the directness of their play and impact of their tackles.

With momentum and a 12-0 halftime lead on their side, along with the referee, who penalised Kenya heavily at the breakdown, New Zealand could afford to cruise a little but they kept up the intensity to score three more tries, two of which were converted by McGarvey-Black.

First, Ware was over after a long Joe Webber pass, then, with New Zealand mixing up their attack with a wide kick, Curry scored a deserved five-pointer.

Fellow big man Dylan Collier, also increasingly influential, sealed what amounted to a rout with a converted try.

The big win came an hour or so after the Black Ferns sevens were knocked out of the race for the gold medal by Australia in a 17-12 semifinal victory. They will play Canada for a bronze medal.

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