Gold Coast Sevens: New Zealand claim opening event of World Series
Last Updated: 13/10/13 2:54pm
Tim Mikkelson on his way to the try-line in the semi-final win over England
World Series champions New Zealand got their season off to a perfect start by winning the Gold Coast Sevens with a 40-19 victory over Australia.
The hosts raced into a 12-0 lead in the final through two tries from Ed Jenkins and Paul Stannard, before New Zealand found their rhythm.
Debutant Ambrose Curtis scored two tries in the right-hand corner to put New Zealand in front after two excellent conversions from Tomasi Cama.
Cama then added a try of his own before Waisake Naholo pounced on a loose ball to put daylight between the two teams.
David Raikunu brought up the 40-point mark for New Zealand with their sixth try, with Cameron Clark grabbing a consolation for Australia late on.
England sealed third place with a convincing 47-0 hammering of South Africa, running in seven tries as new coach Simon Amor got off to a promising start in his first tournament since taking over from Ben Ryan.
Australia were tied 19-19 with the Blitzbokke after the 14 minutes were up, forcing the second semi-final into extra time.
Great drama saw Australia miss a penalty kick with three minutes remaining, but Jesse Parahi was on hand to finish in the corner with time running out to seal a 24-19 win for the hosts.
Tries from Scott Curry and Tim Mikkelson, who was also sin-binned, secured victory for Gordon Tietjens' New Zealand side in their semi-final, although they conceded their first points of the tournament when Mike Ellery gave England the lead in the first-half.
The victory followed New Zealand's 40-0 triumph over Samoa in the first quarter final, with last year's IRB Sevens Player of the Year Mikkelson scoring a hat-trick to book the defending Series champions' spot in the semi-finals.
Having trailed 5-0, Mat Turner, Mike Ellery (2) and Rob Vickerman all crossed for tries to give Simon Amor's England a 26-12 victory against their previous coach Ben Ryan and his Fiji side.
Fiji would go on to lift the Plate after a convincing 36-0 victory over Kenya.
Hosts Australia advanced to play South Africa after beating Kenya 24-12 while two-time defending champions Fiji beat Samoa 31-26 in the Plate semi-finals.
France ensured they maintained a 100 per cent record on day two as Julien Saubade scored in sudden death extra time to win the Bowl.
Connor Braid had held his nerve to kick a last minute conversion to take the match into sudden death extra time after Sean Ferguson had crossed in the corner, but Saubade's try ensured France won in overtime for the second time in two matches.
Canada made the final after they recorded a 19-14 victory over Scotland thanks to two Harry Jones tries while France's Julien Candelon was on hand to secure a 17-12 win over Argentina in sudden death extra time in the second semi-final.
Geraint John's side progressed to the semi finals after beating Spain 29-5 with Ciaran Hearn scoring two of their five tries while France had defeated Portugal 26-12.
Earlier, Struan Dewar scored the first try of the day before Alex Glashan scored twice to help Scotland win their Bowl quarter final against USA 19-10.
The USA beat Portugal 22-0 to lift the Shield final in Matt Hawkins' first tournament as head coach. Tries from Stephen Tomasin, Zack Test, Brett Thompson and Folau Niua ensured the USA took home some silverware from the Gold Coast Sevens.
Folau Niua scored 16 points as USA beat Spain 26-7 in the first Shield semi final and will face Portugal in the final.