December 5 - New Zealand claimed first blood in this season's International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens World Series when they saw off Samoa 24-12 in a gripping final to lift the Dubai title today in the first major event since the sport was voted onto the Olympic programme for Rio 2016.
The result made up for the All Blacks' disappointing Series last season when the side was hit by injury and loss of form.
But a new-look squad this term looks to have regained their prowess in the abbreviated game.
New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens said: "I thought we might have been a bit undercooked.
"But you put in the work and you reap the riches.
"The players have put everything into this win.
"What really pleased me was winning so well today in all three matches."
New Zealand made their defence count to snuff out the flair of Fiji for a 19-0 victory in the semi-final after seeing off Kenya 17-14 in a tense quarter-final.
In the final, Tietjens' team looked on course for a straightforward win when they moved into a 10-0 lead with tries from Tomasi Cama and skipper DJ Forbes.
But a great fightback by Samoa gave the Pacific islanders a 14-10 lead after two converted tries from Reupena Levasa and Mikaele Pesamino early in the second-half.
New Zealand replied with tries by Kurt Baker and a second from Cama to take the honours.
Tietjens admitted that the emphasis was on remaining cool after Samoa had gone ahead.
He said: "That's sevens rugby.
"They bounced back but we had the winning mentality."
Samoa defeated England 28-19 in the semi-final, having seen off Australia 28-27 in a thrilling quarter-final.
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