Blitebokke finish 2nd in Wellington
Three first half tries secured a 21-0 Cup final win for New Zealand over South Africa in a thrilling Wellington Sevens decider at the Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
The All Black Sevens snapped a five match Cup final losing streak against the Springbok Sevens and also regain their slender lead from the South Africans at the top of the HSBC Sevens World Series standings. New Zealand now lead the World Series table on 99 points, two more than South Africa.
Earlier on Saturday, coach Neil Powell’s team qualified for their fourth successive tournament final this season thanks to identical 10-0 wins over Australia and Fiji in the quarterfinal and semis respectively. The defeat also dashed their hopes of a unique triple tournament win, a difficult feat last achieved by Samoa four years ago.
A clinical, strong performance NZ in the first half effectively sealed the match for them on a slippery and wet surface inside the Westpac Stadium. NZ were able to enjoy a 21-0 halftime lead thanks to three converted tries through Tim Mikkelson and Sherwin Stowers (2). The hosts lost their opening group match on Friday against Fiji but then went on a scoring spree afterwards to win all their matches, scoring 178 points in the process without conceding any.
The Springbok Sevens produced a brilliant tactical display to outwit the dangerous Fijians in their semifinal clash. However, it was the home team who turned the tables and strangled the Bok Sevens in the Cup final with powerful play at the breakdown and solid defence in the midfield. The South Africans forced a string of penalties in the last quarter of the match, but unforced errors and wrong options meant it was not going to be their day.
Although he admits that the Cup final loss against New Zealand hurts a lot, Powell had some encouraging words for his squad afterwards: “We had a hard, honest team talk on Friday evening after our loss against England and I am glad the guys responded and reacted well against Australia and Fiji,” said Powell.
The Springbok Sevens coach also mentioned the squad can be pleased with their overall performances in Las Vegas and Wellington. “We are very pleased to have played in two Cup final and to return home with one title after a very tough three week tour,” added the coach.
According to Powell, his attacking options were limited somewhat on Saturday after two of his players were ruled out with injuries: “Stephan Dippenaar hurt his knee last night (Friday) against England and was not available for selection while Justin Geduld hurt his knee during the warm-up drills before the Australia match. They will both undergo examinations on Monday after our return to Stellenbosch,” explained Powell.
Fiji edged out last year’s tournament winners England in a thriller to win their playoff for third place 14-12, while a last gasp kick handed Australia the plate over a gritty Canada. Paul Treu’s Kenya lifted the Bowl after beating Scotland 24-24 while the USA defeated Spain 28-12 to win the Shield final.Third place: Fiji 14-7 England
South Africa 10 - 0 Fiji
England 0 - 31 New Zealand
Fiji 29 - 7 Argentina
Australia 0 - 10 South Africa
Canada 0 - 24 New Zealand
England 21 - 5 Samoa
Australia snatch Plate
Plate Final:Australia 12-10 Canada
Australia 34 - 0 Argentina
Samoa 0 - 27 Canada
Australia came from 10-0 behind to beat Canada 12-10 in the final of the Plate, with captain Ed Jenkins scoring the decisive try and Cameron Clark kicking the all-important conversion as they collected 13 Series points.
Shannon Walker scored a first half hat-trick before captain Ed Jenkins scored twice in the second half to give Australia an impressive 34-0 win over Argentina to book their ticket to the final.
In the semi-finals Canada beat Samoa for a second successive round with John Moonlight and Conor Trainor both scoring braces in a 27-0 win.
Kenya win Bowl
Bowl final: Scotland 14 - 24 Kenya
Kenya 24 - 7 France
Wales 0 - 28 Scotland
Collins Injera scored twice as Kenya beat Scotland 24-14 and recorded three wins on day two at the Wellington Sevens to lift the Bowl.
Earlier they proved too strong for France in their semi final with Daniel Sikuta scoring two tries in their 24-7 win while Alex Glashan scored a hat-trick as Scotland booked their place in the Bowl final by beating Wales 28-0.
Earlier Mark Robertson also scored a hat-trick and Andrew Turnbull took his tournament to tally to seven as they beat Spain 38-12 in their quarter final to set up a match with Wales while Oscar Ouma and Collins Injera both scored twice in Kenya's 34-0 defeat of Portugal.
USA claim Shield
Spain 12 - 28 United States
Carlin Isles and co. collected a second successive Shield as they won 28-12 against Spain in the final, with Isles scoring two in the victory.
Earlier Isles scored two more tries in the USA's 31-10 defeat of Portugal in their semi final, while Spain booked their place in the Shield final by beating Tonga 17-12 thanks to a try from Pablo Fontes in sudden death extra time.
With thanks to the IRB