10 Dec 2018

NZ sevens miss medal

7:11 am on 10 December 2018

The New Zealand men's sevens team have missed out on a medal at the South African leg of the new World Series season.

New Zealand Rugby Sevens player Dylan Collier.

NZ sevens player Dylan Collier. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Champions at the opening round in Dubai at the end of last month, the Commonwealth Games and World Cup champions in 2018 were hoping to continue that winning form in Cape Town, South Africa.

But after a miraculous escape against the hosts in their final pool match, and a 26-17 win over Australia in the quarterfinals, New Zealand were outplayed in going down 31-12 to the USA in the semifinals on Monday (NZ time).

That set-up a rematch with South Africa in the bronze medal match, where the home side claimed a 10-5 win.

New Zealand started well and scored first through captain Sione Molia.

But South Africa responded through Werner Kok to level the scores just before halftime and, after a sustained period camped in New Zealand's half, Dewald Human went over for the winning try in the penultimate minute.

Fiji were too good for the USA in the tournament final, romping to a 29-15 win.

Despite the result, a second straight runner-up finish means the USA take the series lead on 38 points, one ahead of New Zealand.

Earlier in the semifinals, a first half blitz powered the ever-improving Americans to victory, three tries giving them a 19-0 lead at halftime.

A fourth soon after the restart all but ended the hopes of New Zealand, who scored consolation tries to Andrew Knewstubb and Taylor Haugh.