After being well beaten by the Blitzboks in last week's Dubai final, New Zealand bounced back by defeating the same opponents 7-5 in the Cup final in Cape Town.
It was a double celebration for the All Blacks too with the NZ Women’s team winning their Cup Final 17-7 against Australia in the inaugural Women’s tournament in the South African city.
South Africa started the final the better, to the delight of the Cape Town Stadium crowd roaring them on, with Seabelo Senatla racing away only for a great tackle by Regan Ware to not only stop him but dislodge the ball but then a strong run from Kurt Baker took New Zealand into the Blitzboks’ 22.
The All Blacks Sevens continued to build the pressure in South Africa’s half but couldn’t find a way through and the Cup final was scoreless at half-time. It didn’t remain that way for long with Andrew Knewstubb dropping the kick-off and South Africa made New Zealand pay, Senatla finding Justin Geduld with just over a minute played.
New Zealand fumbled the restart again but Baker was able to stop South Africa from scoring a second try by regathering the loose ball, before causing the Blitzboks more trouble in defence with another run that saw him bounce out of tackles.
With three minutes to play, New Zealand silenced the crowd when they worked Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, who was later named HSBC Player of the Final, over for a try that Baker was able to convert to take the lead. A crucial lineout steal deep in their own half with a minute to go proved crucial as the All Blacks Sevens then held on to claim a first title in Cape Town since 2018.
New Zealand co-captain Scott Curry said: “We knew it was going to be a tough fight and nil all at half-time I guess is fitting for a crowd like this. Cape Town has really turned it on and the support here is amazing – we really appreciate it and all the support back home has been massive.
“It doesn’t get much better than that, playing South Africa in front of a home crowd with over 50,000 fans roaring the national anthem. It’s hard not to get inspired by that, even as a Kiwi.”
France claimed the bronze medal in dramatic fashion with Tavite Veredamu’s try in sudden-death extra-time securing a 29-24 victory over Fiji, their first win over the series champions since the Cup quarter-finals in Cape Town in 2015.
New Zealand and South Africa both have 41 points after two rounds, with the All Blacks Sevens sitting top on points difference. France’s bronze medal has lifted them to third place with 29 points, just ahead of Argentina, England (both on 24) and defending series champions Fiji on 23 points.
Men’s day three results
South Africa 17-5 Kenya
France 19-10 Argentina
Ireland 12-31 Fiji
New Zealand 35-19 Scotland
South Africa 21-14 France
Fiji 7-24 New Zealand
15th place play-off
Wales 15-19 Japan
13th place play-off
Samoa 38-7 Spain
11th place play-off
Australia 5-22 Canada
9th place play-off
USA 17-12 England
France 29-24 Fiji
South Africa 5-7 New Zealand