New Zealand edged South Africa 7-5 in the final of the Cape Town leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.
The All Blacks’ captain Scott Curry praised his team for rising to a “massive challenge” as they avenged a defeat by the Blitzbokke in the final of the series opener in Dubai last week.
“It doesn’t get much better than that – playing South Africa at (their) home in front of 50,000 fans roaring their national anthem.”
Neither team could score in a tense first half but the hosts went ahead two minutes after the break with a try by Justin Geduld.
New Zealand, who were beaten 15-0 in last week’s final, breached South Africa’s ferocious defence three minutes later when man of the match Ngarohi McGarvey-Black scored under the posts.
Akuila Rokolisoa’s conversion proved the difference between the teams, who are now tied at the top of the series log after two tournaments.
South Africa had to overcome early deficits in their earlier knock-out matches against Kenya and France.
In both cases they were level at half-time before pulling away in the second half.
They beat Kenya 17-5 in a hard, physical quarter-final before defeating France 21-14 in the semi-finals.
New Zealand had an easier time and were able to ease off in the closing minutes of both their knock-out matches on the way to the final.
They beat Ireland 35-19 after leading 21-0 at half-time and then beat 2018 Cape Town champions Fiji 24-7 in the semi-finals.
The result was never in doubt after the All Blacks scored the first three tries, one of them while Fiji were down to five men because of two yellow cards.
France pipped the Pacific Islanders for third place, winning 29-24 in extra time.
The New Zealand women’s side overcame a scare in the quarter-finals before securing their second successive tournament win, beating Australia 17-7 in the final.
Two tries by Ruby Tui and one by Kelly Brazier enabled the Black Ferns to beat a spirited Australia team, who scored through Ellia Green.
England led New Zealand 21-7 with four minutes to go in the quarter-finals but the champions fought back to take the match into sudden-death extra time before substitute Mahina Paul scored the winning try.
“We didn’t start the tournament how we wanted but we finished exactly as we wanted to,” said captain Tyla Nathan-Wong.