Sunday, December 12, 2010
New Zealand retained their South Africa Sevens title as they beat England 22-19 in a dramatic game in the George leg of the IRB Sevens World Series on Saturday.
A last gasp penalty by Tomasi Cama was the only thing that could separate the two after full time as they were locked at 19 apiece. Cama slotted the dropkick in the fourth minute of injury time to seal the victory for New Zealand, who won in George for the fourth time in five years.
England, sticking to their bright new kits, were hoping to take their second successive tournament for the first time ever but upon reaching the final were edged out by the more experienced side. The Dubai champions had actually led 14-0 before the men in black came back into contention with some great tries.
"To play finals footy in front of an awesome crowd like this and take it right down to the last second, it was definitely a pleasing moment," said New Zealand captain DJ Forbes. "They are well-coached, well-drilled and they've got a lot of tricks up their sleeve.
"I guess to knuckle down and beat them back to back is definitely credit to the boys."
New Zealand played the last minute with a player less but managed to work a penalty after England had infringed at the ruck. "We had to take it," said coach Gordon Tietjens.
"We were down to six men and it was unlikely we were going to break down the English defense in the end there. He's (Cama) been kicking well, so we gave it a crack and it won us the game."
England lead the series standings, with New Zealand now behind them in second, and Samoa in third. The next event is in Wellington from February 4th.
This will most likely have been the last of its kind in George, as the agreement is up for renewal. Cape Town looks like they could be favourites to host future SA Sevens legs.