New Zealand win South Africa Sevens

South African hearts were broken as the All Blacks scored a last-gasp 31-26 victory in the Cup final of the Sevens World Series in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.


With only seconds remaining on the stadium clock and the Blitzbokke leading 26-24, New Zealand’s Toby Arnold latched on to a kick-through and ran about 40m before handing the ball to Tomasi Cama, who touched down under the posts to claim the win.


Cama scored two tries in the match as did Frank Halai while DJ Forbes added another.


Cama slotted also three conversions.


South Africa’s tries were scored by Bernardo Botha (2), Cecil Afrika and Steven Hunt. Branco du Preez converted three.


It was New Zealand’s eighth tournament win on South African soil and it also made up for the disappointment of being knocked out in the quarter-finals in Dubai a week earlier.


The match was a ding-dong affair, with the advantage switching hands constantly.


In the end, New Zealand scored five tries to four and deserved their win.


Earlier, the Blitzbokke played the perfect semi-final against Samoa building up a 12-0 lead at halftime and then retaining possession in the second half.


There was not much the Samoans could do without the ball as South Africa ran down the stadium clock to claim a place in the final.


Du Preez opened the scoring for the homeside midway through the first half and Bernardo Botha added a second. Samoa managed to gain a consolation try through EP Kings winger Paul Perez but it was not enough to stop Paul Treu’s men from completing a 12-7 win.


Defending South African leg champions New Zealand gained their spot in the Cup with a hard-fought 19-14 victory over Dubai champions England. They beat Australia 21-5 to get into the semi-final against England.


Zimbabwe beat Kenya 19-12 in an all-Africa Shield final while Scotland beat Canada 22-19 in the Bowl final.


Wales ran riot against Fiji to take the honours 48-0 in the Plate final and Samoa won the play-off for third and fourth by beating England 17-14.


James Rodwell’s two tries had put England in charge only for them to be overhauled by second half scores from Uale Mai and Alatasi Tupou.


Dubai champions England added 15 points to their account in the Sevens World Series standings and after three of nine tournaments are well-placed just four points behind joint leaders New Zealand and Fiji.


Earlier in the day England produced one of their best performances of the season to dispose of Gold Coast champions Fiji 21-14 at the quarter final stage.


But Tim Mikkelson’s last minute try for New Zealand edged them out of the semi final 19-14 and into the third-place play-off.


England had worked hard to qualify for the quarter finals on the opening day, beating the USA 26-7 and Argentina 19-0 either side of a 24-14 setback against Samoa in Pool A.


They then began Day Two by overwhelming the Fijians, pressing them into errors and pinning them deep in their own half.


Isoa Damudamu and Mat Turner put Rodwell in from close range early on before Osea Kolinisau levelled. England struck back immediately, though, with Dan Norton attacking from deep and beating defenders on an 80m burst for the line.


A patient build-up involving Chris Cracknell and Rodwell gave Turner the time to find his way to the line immediately after the break and put them 14 points clear before Aminiasi Nava Kuruinovo’s consolation effort.


England trailed New Zealand 14-0 at one point in the semi final – to tries from Solomon King and Joe Webber – before launching a superb comeback.


Rodwell and Turner fashioned the opening for Cracknell to smash his way over in the right-hand corner with Saracens’ Marcus Watson converting immediately before the interval.


And they were on a roll in the second half, forcing New Zealand into conceding penalties before Cracknell, Isoa Damudamu attack

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