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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 3 Welsh Teacher vacancy in Penarth

£110 - £120 per day + Travel Scheme and Free training: Randstad Education Card...

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Male Behaviour Support Assistant vacancy in Penarth

£55 - £65 per day + Travel Scheme and Free Training: Randstad Education Cardif...

BA/PM,EMIR/Dodd-Frank,London,£450-650P/D

£450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz