Sevens: New Zealand bid for US crown falls short

New Zealand's drought in the Nevada desert has continued, with the home-team USA bundling the All Blacks Sevens out of the semi-finals at Las Vegas.

The Kiwis jumped out to an immediate lead, with Sione Molia scoring within 20 seconds of the kick-off and Kurt Baker extending the advantage to 12-0 soon afterwards.

But the Americans struck back with two quick converted tries to snatch a 14-12 lead before halftime.

Speedster Carlin Isles scored either side of the break, stretching the margin to seven points soon after the restart, before New Zealand produced a perfectly worked lineout move inside the US 22 for Tim Mikkelson to score and Baker converted from wide to level the scores.

As the final seconds ticked down, the All Black Sevens tried desperately to steal possession from their rivals, but were repeatedly penalised by referee Craig Evans, who eventually sent Joseva Ravouvaou from the field.

Short-handed and pinned to their own goal-line, New Zealand could not prevent Isles from sealing his hat-trick and victory, as the final siren sounded.

The result effectively put the United States on top of the IRB world series standings and they reinforced their form this season, by defending their home title 27-0 against Samoa in the final.

Coming into the event, New Zealand and the US sat level atop the table, but the Americans made their fifth straight series final and overpowered the surprising Samoans for victory.

Samoa lost 33-0 to New Zealand in their tournament opener, but have overcome Australia and Argentina in the knockout rounds to make the final.

The All Black Sevens secured third place with a dramatic come-from-behind 26-19 win over Argentina, after trailling 19-7 midway through the second half.