South Africa beat Fiji 24-14 in the final of the London Sevens at Twickenham on Sunday as New Zealand celebrated winning a ninth International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens World Series title.
South Africa came from 14-0 down to see off Fiji to win the London trophy for the first time since 2005.
Earlier New Zealand’s 31-14 quarterfinal win over Argentina saw them crowned champions with a round to spare ahead of next week’s 2011 series finale in Edinburgh.
South Africa’s 24 points for winning in London means they are third in the standings with 116 points, behind England (121) and ahead of Samoa (112) and Fiji (110).
New Zealand may have an unbeatable lead there will now be a four-way battle to finish series runners-up in Scotland.
The final saw South Africa, coached by Paul Treu, make amends for their pool defeat by Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.
After falling behind early on, they ran in four tries, two of them scored by Bernardo Botha.
Fiji had earlier on Sunday thrashed New Zealand 42-12 in the last four.
New Zealand though had done enough by then to secure the title, Tomasi Cama scoring twice in a 31-14 quarterfinal win over Argentina.
In the other semifinal, South Africa edged past Rugby World Cup Sevens champions Wales 21-19 after beating 2010 London winners Australia 17-0 in the last eight.
Sunday’s other quarterfinals saw Fiji beat fellow Pacific Islanders Samoa 26-14 while Alex Cuthbert scored the key try in Wales’ 19-12 win over France.
The two-day attendance of 100 094 at Twickenham Stadium represented the biggest weekend crowd for a Sevens World Series tournament, surpassing the 100 000 recorded at the Dubai Sevens three years ago. — AFP