Sport

NZ nab 10th Sevens World Series honours, Fiji take London Sevens

New Zealand have been crowned Sevens World Series champions for the 10th time in 13 years, while rivals Fiji imperiously won the London Sevens.

Cornal Hendricks of South Africa scores a try during the Sevens World Series plate semifinal against England on Sunday. (Phil Cole, Getty)

When New Zealand won their quarterfinal 36-0 over defending London champions South Africa, the Kiwis clinched the series title with an unassailable points lead in the ninth and last tournament.

Fiji then blew away the Kiwis in the semifinals 31-7 for the second year in a row, and mastered Samoa 38-15 in the final for their first London title since 2006.

New Zealand, who won three tournaments along with Fiji this season, ended up edging their Pacific neighbours by six points in the final standings. England were third and Samoa came fourth.

Meanwhile, a try from Mat Turner seconds after the final hooter gave England a dramatic 19-17 victory over South Africa in their Plate semifinal clash of the London Sevens at Twickenham on Sunday afternoon.

Turner, one of three nominees for the HSBC Sevens World Series Player of the Year, scored under the posts after the Blitzbokke had led 17-12 when the siren signalled the end of playing time.

The match produced a real Sevens thriller, with the lead changing several times and the two teams entertaining the huge crowd to an excellent exhibition of Sevens action. Fiji and Samoa advanced through to the Cup final.

But Turner scored with the last movement of the match to clinch a dramatic 19-17 win for England which brought an end to South Africa’s frustrating season.

Disappointing start
South Africa got their day off to a disappointing start when arch rivals New Zealand outplayed them 36-0 in the first of the four Cup quarterfinals. The Kiwis never allowed the South Africans any sort of possession and pinned the Blitzbokke in their own half for much of the match.

The victory also allowed New Zealand to clinch their tenth World Series title.

South Africa coach Paul Treu could not hide his disappointment at his team’s very indifferent season.

“After a disappointing performance against New Zealand we played much better against England and were unlucky not to win ... I realise our overall performances this year were not good enough and it was disappointing for our many fans in South Africa and also those who follow us abroad across the World Series,” he said.

“We lost several key players and introduced a number of new ones. Some of them found the pace and intensity difficult to handle while others showed that, with a couple more chances, they can establish themselves in this demanding arena ... The squad will now take a break and when we reassemble we will start from scratch. We will have an honest assessment and then start on preparations to get us ready for hopefully a much more successful new campaign next season,” added Treu. — Sapa, Sapa-AP

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