New Zealand Wins Wellington Sevens

The All Blacks Sevens came from 14-0 and 21-7 behind to dramatically beat South Africa 24-21 in the Cup final of the Wellington Sevens.  The win sees Sir Gordon Tietjens’ side move from seventh to third in the World Rugby Sevens Series standings with 47 points, five behind Fiji who finished third at the Westpac Stadium and seven behind the Blitzbokke who moved ahead of Fiji for the first time this season.  There were enthralling scenes in Wellington as the hosts snatched victory at the death to claim a hat-trick of Wellington titles and a fifth in six years thanks to a match-winning try from Joe Webber.

New Zealand kept the ball and their composure after the buzzer had sounded to cap a remarkable comeback, similar to that of their 17-14 pool victory over Neil Powell’s side at the end of day.  Captain Tim Mikkelson says:  ‘All week we talked about how we needed a lot of heart and a lot of ticker.  Liam Messam came back from Japan and talked about putting the pride back in the jersey after the last couple of tournaments, and that’s what we did.  We talked about securing the kick-offs and we bumbled a few and put ourselves under pressure but we knew if we coud keep the ball in hand we could win.’

In the semi-finals Cheslin Kolbe scored two tries to help Neil Powell’s side cruise to a 31-0 win over Fiji, while Ben Lam also scored two as the hosts New Zealand booked their place in the final with a win over England.  Sydney hosts Australia won the Plate with a 21-5 win over Argentina, Samoa won the Bowl and France lifted the Shield.

Photo credit: Martin Seras Lima