All Blacks Sevens win miracle final

Joe Webber has scored after the final hooter to give New Zealand an improbable 24-21 win over South Africa in the final of the world series tournament in Wellington.

The All Blacks won their third successive Wellington crown in dramatic fashion, crossing for three tries in the final four minutes.

Trailing 21-7 late in the pulsating second spell, substitute Rieko Ioane scored two tries while Blitzboks playmaker Rosko Specman was in the sin bin for a professional foul.

Receiving the final possession deep inside their own half, the hosts worked the ball downfield and created an opening for Webber, who dived across in the left corner.

It was eerily similar to when the teams met in the final pool match on Saturday, when a Sonny Bill Williams offload put Webber over after the hooter to snatch a last-gasp win.

South Africa dominated the first three-quarters of the final, with their extra speed capitalising on a series of New Zealand mistakes and creating tries for Philip Snyman, Specman and Seabelo Senatla.

A key moment came on the stroke of halftime when Specman was bundled out in the corner by bullocking forward Akira Ioane following a 40m chase.

It capped a brilliant tournament for Blues loose forward Akira Ioane, who scored New Zealand’s first try in typically bullocking style.

South Africa, whose only Wellington title came in 2002, assume the lead in the world series after three rounds.

The All Blacks Sevens, who notched a ninth Wellington title, climb from sixth to third, having started poorly in Dubai and Cape Town in December.

The injection of a number of Super Rugby players – most notably the Ioane brothers, Sonny Bill Williams and Ardie Savea – has given them a significantly more potent look.

They were unstoppable earlier on Sunday, marching past Kenya 36-0 in the quarter-finals and England 25-5 in the semis.

South Africa’s 26-14 quarter-final win over Australia was followed by a brilliant 31-0 dismantling of Fiji, who are second in the standings after beating England 24-12 in the play-off for third.


South Africa 54

Fiji 52

New Zealand 47

Argentina 41

England 41

United States 39

Australia 35

Kenya 30

France 28

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