Scotland notch first ever win over New Zealand on way to defending London Sevens title
Scots fight back from 21-0 down to post an historic victory against the Kiwis before knocking off hosts England 12-7 in a tight final
Scotland’s sevens side became the first team from the country in more than a hundred years to beat rugby union giants New Zealand, thereby retaining their London Sevens title at Twickenham on Sunday.
To make it even more of a red-letter day for the Scots, they defeated arch-rivals England 12-7 in the final of the last leg of World Rugby’s Sevens Series.
Scotland have been playing international rugby union against New Zealand for 112 years.
In that time, Scotland’s national men’s 15s team have lost 28 out of 30 Tests against the world champion All Blacks, with their best results two home draws – a 0-0 stalemate in 1964 and a rather more exciting Murrayfield encounter in 1983 that ended all square at 25-25.
But there seemed little prospect of even a draw at Twickenham as New Zealand surged into a 21-0 lead at half-time in Sunday’s quarter-final thanks to tries from Sam Dickson, Fa’asiu Fuatai and Andrew Knewstubb.
Watch: Scotland beat New Zealand at the London Sevens
However, Scotland produced a remarkable rally to score four unanswered tries in the second period, two each for Dougie Fife and Jamie Farndale, secured a breathtaking 24-21 win.
Scotland’s semi-final against the United States featured yet more drama when, with the match tied at 14-14 and time up but the ball still in play, Jo Nayacavou crossed for the winning try to set up a final against tournament hosts England.
You have to go back to 1983 to find the last time a Scotland men’s 15s team beat England at Twickenham but “headquarters” holds no such fears for the sevens side.
Despite falling 7-0 behind to a solo try from England’s Dan Norton, the Scots hit back in the second half thanks to tries from Hugh Blake and captain Scott Riddell.
“I’m absolutely elated,” said Riddell. “This sport is something that just grips you. It’s so special and I’m so proud of the boys. I’m lost for words.
“We were under the pump and we just keep fighting and we took our chances. You couldn’t write a script like that.”
South Africa, who had already won the overall series title in last week’s event in Paris, lost 17-12 to England in the quarter-finals.