New Zealand down South Africa 21-0 in Sevens final

WELLINGTON, Feb 8 — New Zealand today outblitzed the Blitzbokke to regain the lead in the IRB World Sevens series, defeating the South Africans 21-0 in the final in Wellington.

After losing to South Africa in the last two rounds in Las Vegas and Port Elizabeth, New Zealand were not to be denied a third time as they racked up their second tournament win of the series.

On a wet and windy evening, all the points were scored in the first half as a rampant All Blacks ran in three tries.

After being forced to defend for the first two minutes, New Zealand broke out when Bryce Heem put Tim Mikkelson into a gap for a 70-metre try.

Sherwin Stowers added two more, all converted by Gillies Kaka as the South Africans’ much vaunted defence deserted them.

New Zealand controlled the turnovers to dominate possession and produced an impregnable defence in the second half when South Africa did all the attacking.

After losing to Fiji 12-7 in their opening pool match, New Zealand have progressed unbeaten through the rest of the tournament, scoring 178 points without conceding any.

They beat Canada 24-0 in the quarter-finals and England 31-0 in the semis while South Africa recorded narrow 10-0 wins over Australia and then Fiji.

Fiji downed England 14-7 in the play-off for third and Australia beat Canada 12-10 in the plate final.

The remaining rounds in the series start in Japan on March 22, Hong Kong on March 28, Scotland on May 3 and England on May 10. — AFP

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