New Zealand beats South Africa 19-14 to win Canada Sevens

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New Zealand players perform the haka after defeating South Africa during the World Rugby Sevens Series' Canada Sevens Cup final in Vancouver

New Zealand players perform the haka after defeating South Africa during the World Rugby Sevens Series' Canada Sevens Cup final in Vancouver (Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — New Zealand beat South Africa 19-14 in the final of the inaugural Canada Sevens rugby tournament Sunday, reducing Fiji's lead in the World Series to a single point after six of 10 rounds.

South Africa scored the opening try of the final through Rosco Speckman but New Zealand struck back with tries to Sam Dickson and Kurt Baker to lead 14-7 at halftime.

Lewis Ormond scored New Zealand's only points in the second half to extend his team's lead to 19-7 before Seabelo Senatla scored a late consolation for South Africa.

Sunday's win gave New Zealand its third title of the season after victories in its home tournament at Wellington and also Sydney. South Africa won at home in Cape Town and finished runner-up in Wellington and Vancouver.

Australia rallied from 12-0 down to defeat Fiji 19-12 in the playoff for third place. Fiji sits atop the World Series standings with 106 points, followed by South Africa (105), New Zealand (104) and Australia (90).

The next round takes place in Hong Kong, beginning April 8.

"It was a tough tournament, six real hard games and I think every game came down to the last whistle and the boys showed some heart," said Dickson, named player of the match. "It was awesome and we're stoked.

"It was a huge team effort, I just did my bit and we came out on top."

South Africa went into the final with the best defensive record in the tournament, having conceded just four tries in its five previous games, but New Zealand seized control of the decider after an early error led to Speckman's try.

New Zealand dominated South Africa at the breakdown, forcing turnovers and controlling possession, and was rewarded with tries from Dickson, Baker and Ormond while South African's second touchdown came just seconds from fulltime.

Australia scored two late tries through John Porch to snatch third place from Fiji to avenge last weekend's loss in the final of the Las Vegas Sevens.

 

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