TRY TIME: Joe Webber scored three tries on day one at the South Africa Sevens, including the match-winner in their final group match against England.
New Zealand has gone through pool play unbeaten at the Nelson Mandela Sevens in Port Elizabeth.
Gordon Tietjens side were tested by Samoa and England on their pool matches, but qualified top of Pool D to set up a quarterfinal clash with the USA at 12.03am Monday NZT.
Joe Webber set his side on the right path in their opening match, scoring a double to lead New Zealand to a 24-7 win over Samoa. DJ Forbes and Sam Dickson also crossed the white chalk.
The tries were shared around in a 29-0 demolition of Japan in their second pool match, with Sam Vaka, Sherwin Stowers, Ambrose Curtis, Scott Curry and Kurt Baker all getting in on the act.
England provided the sternest challenge in the final match of the day, but New Zealand again came out on top, this time 5-0.
Gillies Kaka was yellow carded five minutes into the match, but England were unable to make the most of the man advantage.
When Kaka returned two minutes later for the second half, Webber scored his third try of the day to hand New Zealand a 5-0 lead early in the second stanza.
It was a lead New Zealand wouldn’t lose.
New Zealand will come up against the United States next, after they progressed from a group containing South Africa, Kenya and Wales.
The USA smashed Kenya 33-5 and Wales 38-12 on their way to second in Pool A, with their only loss coming to hosts South Africa, 26-0.
Now Tietjens’ side will be hoping to fix the second day hoodoo they’ve had this World Series, in which they have failed to fire against top opposition.
They should progress to the semifinals with few struggles, but then Tietjens will hope his side can continue to grind out victories.
Should they reach the semifinals, New Zealand will face Argentina or Scotland.
NEW ZEALAND RESULTS
New Zealand 24 (Joe Webber 2, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes tries; Gillies Kaka 2 con) Samoa 7. HT: 19-0
New Zealand 29 (Kurt Baker, Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Sherwin Stowers, Sam Vaka tries; Baker con, Webber con) Japan 0. HT: 12-0
New Zealand 5 (Joe Webber try) England 0. HT: 0-0
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