South Africa finished third at the Port Elizabeth Sevens while New Zealand cruised to a comfortable tournament win.
The Blitzboks ended the competition on a high, beating Argentina 35-0 in the third-place play-off. South Africa’s task was made easier by the fact that Argentina’s semi-final encounter with France went deep into extra time, and so fatigue took its toll on the South Americans in the last game of the day.
Indeed, France also struggled to keep up with New Zealand, who eventually won the final 47-12.
The Kiwis were deserved winners, having beaten the Blitzboks 12-5 in the semi-final. South Africa started that play-off impressively, taking the fight to the New Zealanders at the collisions and weighing in with some brutal and error-inducing tackles.
It was their defence as much as their attack that allowed them to go to the break with a 5-0 lead. Paul Delport was on hand to finish a well-worked try, and also made a crucial contribution at the close of the half when his desperate tackle denied the Kiwis a try.
But it didn’t take long for New Zealand to draw level, with Kurt Baker crossing the tryline early in the second stanza. Baker was so nearly in for his second later in the half, and again it took some desperate defence to stop the Kiwis’ momentum.
That stalling of momentum was only temporary, however, as New Zealand struck the decisive blow moments later. After bulldozing the Blitzboks at the ruck and robbing them of possession, New Zealand shifted the ball wide and scored the match-winning try.
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