Birmingham Commonwealth Games: All Blacks Sevens to play for bronze as Fiji end gold medal defence

The All Blacks Sevens will play for bronze at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, after a 19-14 defeat to Fiji in the semi-final.

In a match that extended into extra-time, Fiji snatched victory as captain Wisea Nacuqu's runaway effort ended the All Blacks Sevens' defence of the gold medal won on the Gold Coast four years ago, and handed New Zealand a second semi-final loss in Birmingham.

After a short delay that saw Fiji's Aminasi Tuimaba forced from the field with a head injury, the All Blacks Sevens opened the scoring with a penalty try, as Regan Ware was taken out by Kamineli Rasaku in the build-up.

Regan Ware scores against Fiji.
Regan Ware scores against Fiji. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

Rasaku was sent to the sin bin for two minutes, and with the numerical advantage, Ware scored the All Blacks Sevens' second, going in under the posts for a 14-0 lead.

Fiji hit back before halftime, after an intercept saw Filipe Sauturaga in to score under the posts, as a successful conversion sent the two sides in with the All Blacks Sevens 14-7 ahead.

The try came at a huge cost to the All Blacks Sevens, as Scott Curry pulled up with a hamstring injury attempting to run Sauturaga down.

After the break, though, it was all one-way traffic, as Fiji gave themselves a chance at a second gold medal in as many years at a major event.

Sauturaga went close to his second, before an offload put teammate Sevuloni Mocenacagi in to level the scores at 14-14 after a successful conversion.

With scores level in the final moments, the All Blacks Sevens lost Akuila Rokolosia to a yellow card for a deliberate knockdown, and Leroy Carter for a professional foul on Mocenacagi.

Despite their advantage though, Fiji couldn't score a winner in normal time, and sent the two teams into sudden death.

And needing a hero, captain Nacuqu stood up to send his side into Monday morning's decider, courtesy of an 80m runaway try that sent his side - and their fans - into delirium. 

The All Blacks Sevens will face Australia for bronze, with their final match to be played on Monday morning.

They'll join the Black Ferns Sevens, who face Canada for bronze on Monday morning, in the hope of adding to New Zealand's medal tally.

Join Newshub for live updates of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games