Samoa win Honk Kong Sevens

28 March 2010 - 15:40 By AP

Samoa came from behind to beat New Zealand 24-21 and win the Hong Kong Sevens, taking the lead in the IRB Sevens World Series with two tournaments left in the season.

The win gave Samoa 30 points and an overall 124 points in the season standings. The Kiwis dropped to second with 121 points.

Kurt Baker, who scored four tries in New Zealand's semifinal victory over Fiji, crossed twice in the first four minutes to help the Kiwis race to a 14-0 lead. Samoa responded with two tries, but missed a conversion, leaving it trailing 12-14 at the half.

Then Mikaele Pesamino scored two consecutive tries and Lolo Lui made one conversion to put Samoa ahead 24-14. The Samoans held on to that lead for most of the second half with tenacious defense, making a late try and conversion by New Zealand meaningless.

Australia defeated South Africa 12-5 in the plate final, earning 16 points under new tournament rules that diverted the losing quarterfinalists into the plate competition. As a losing plate finalist, South Africa gets 10 points.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge was among the trophy presenters, attending the Hong Kong Sevens after the sport was given Olympic status in October.

Sevens will debut at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.