New Zealand early winners in rugby sevens

July 26, 2014
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Usain Bolt of Jamaica and double Olympic champion at the 100 and 200 meters puts up his hands after a journalist asked a question at a press conference on the main press centre at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014, in Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday, July, 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Alasatir Grant)

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — New Zealand extended its Commonwealth Games winning streak in rugby sevens to 27 matches with a 17-14 win Saturday over Scotland at Ibrox Stadium, the 115-year-old home of Rangers football club.

New Zealand led 17-0 with five minutes remaining before the home side pulled close with two late tries and with two New Zealand players sent off.

"We knew it was going to be tough as Scotland had the home support behind them," said New Zealand captain D.J. Forbes. "There were a few decisions that could have gone either way during the game and we had to defend with five backs at the end, so we've done well."

With an earlier win over Canada, New Zealand qualified for Sunday's medal round. More than 185,000 sevens tickets have been sold, including a sellout Sunday.

New Zealand has won all four previous Commonwealth Games golds. Rugby sevens will debut as an Olympic sport in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro.


THE BOLT ARRIVES: Usain Bolt, the world record holder and double Olympic sprint champion, held a packed media conference Saturday. He's running in Jamaica's 4x100-meter relay team over the final two days of athletics next Friday and Saturday. He said his left foot injury, which prevented him from qualifying in the individual sprints, was holding up well during training.

Bolt fielded a number of strange requests, ranging from being asked if he would wear a kilt to journalists seeking a "selfie" — along with his opinion on the Scottish separation referendum in September and the Gaza conflict. He made no direct response to either of the political questions.

ENGAND WINS TEAM TRIATHLON: England continued its domination of Commonwealth Games triathlon when it won the mixed teams relay Saturday, with South Africa second and Australia taking bronze. Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee and Jodie Stimpson, who won the individual men's and women's races on Thursday, were members of the four-person England team. The two women and two men in each team complete a mini-triathlon of swimming, cycling and running before tagging their teammate.

EQUALS RECORD: Veteran shooter Michael Gault of England equaled the Commonwealth Games record for podium finishes when he took bronze in the 10-meter air pistol Saturday. The 60-year-old grandfather won his 18th medal, level with another shooter, Australian Phillip Adams, who has retired. Gault could win his 19th medal in the 50-meter event on Monday. "I don't really mind sharing it with some old Australian," Gault said, smiling.

FIVE GOLDS: A 17-year-old Canadian who also holds Russian citizenship won five of the six gold medals in rhythmic gymnastics. Vancouver-born Patricia Bezzoubenko, who trains regularly with the Russian gymnastics team in Moscow, won the individual all-around title and the team title with Canada. She then won three of the four individual apparatus events on Saturday — the clubs, hoop and ball — on the final day of the event. Attempting to make it six golds in six events, Bezzoubenko finished third in the ribbon.

LOOKING AHEAD: The athletics competition begins Sunday with the marathons and 5,000-meter final and continues through to Aug. 2. Next Wednesday, New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams, who is unbeaten in her last eight major championships — Olympics, world titles and the Commonwealth Games — will make her first appearance in Glasgow. The last time she finished in second place at any major event was the 2005 world championships.