Rugby Sevens: Tait more dazzling than silver but Kiwis win third Sevens gold in a row

The silver ferns finished with the gold medals but the silver medallists had the golden boy. Last seen in the international spotlight being shunted halfway from Cardiff to Abergavenny, everything about Mathew Tait glistened with gold, save for the medal which hung from his neck on the last day of the Commonwealth Games Sevens.

The Newcastle centre was sparkling enough in the pool stages on Thursday. Yesterday, at the business end of events, he was simply dazzling. "He's certainly got that X-factor," said Gordon Tietjens, coach of the winning New Zealand team. "I can't believe he's not in the England 15s squad now."

There were 49,999 others in a state of disbelief in a world record Sevens audience beneath the roof of the Telstra Dome. New Zealand emerged from the gold-medal match victorious by 29-21, claiming a third Commonwealth crown out of three, but Tait's trailblazer of a try will live longest in the memory.

It started with a skip on the England 22 that left Tamati Ellison (the great-grandson of Tom Ellison, the first New Zealand rugby captain and the man who suggested they should wear an all black strip) clutching at thin air. The Newcastle Falcon took off on an 80-metre flight before touching down under the posts.

The fledgling who had his wings so unceremoniously clipped by Gavin Henson on his England debut, the day before his 19th birthday in February 2005, has become a man of some distinction. In a tournament blessed with the Wallabies Lote Tuqiri, Chris Latham and Matt Giteau, the 20-year-old finished top of the class with nine tries.

Before the final there was a dramatic, jinking score that clinched a 17-14 quarter-final win against Samoa six seconds from the hooter, and a brilliant long-range effort in a 21-14 semi-final success against Fiji. It was the kind of stuff that has been lamentably lacking from England's midfield thus far in the Six Nations Championship.

"When Mathew does become a part of the England midfield he will bring a new dimension," said Mike Friday, England's Sevens coach. "I know Robbo [Andy Robinson, the England coach] was watching today and he'll be excited by what he's seen.

"Robbo is very mindful of his previous experience. It's all about timing, in getting it right for Mathew, so that when he makes the transition to the senior set-up he is there for a long time."

"I just like playing," said Tait. "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time out here."

Wales enjoyed their time in Melbourne too, winning the Plate competition with a 29-28 success against South Africa.

Australia finished with a defeat in the bronze-medal match to Fiji, and with Scott Fava in the Royal Melbourne Hospital after suffering convulsions on the pitch. Thankfully, the Wallaby back-rower was in a stable condition overnight.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - North West

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - South West

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator - IT - Fixed Term, Part Time

£17340 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Come and join one of the UK's leading ca...

Recruitment Genius: Property Sales Consultant - Chinese Speaking - OTE £70,000

£18000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity for a Fluent Chines...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent