England beats South Africa to win Cape Town Sevens

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — England upset home favorite South Africa 19-17 in the final to win the Cape Town Sevens on Sunday as the hosts missed a last-second conversion to force extra time.

Werner Kok scored in the left corner as the final hooter sounded but Justin Geduld missed the kick from out wide — the last act of the game — and England celebrated.

The teams scored three tries each, and the critical moment turned out to be England captain Tom Mitchell's conversion of Ruaridh McConnochie's try. That put England seven points ahead, leaving South Africa in need of a converted try to prolong the final.

England fought back against the hotly-favored South Africans after falling behind early, and prevented South Africa, winners last weekend in Dubai, from clinching a second straight title to start the season.

Chris Dry scored first for South Africa in the fourth minute, snapping up a loose ball to outpace England's defense on the outside.

Richard de Carpentier and Dan Norton replied for England, with de Carpentier charging down the middle for his try and speedster Norton finishing off a simple overlap on the right to push England ahead 12-5 at halftime.

South Africa substitute Rosko Specman created a try for himself, collecting his own kick ahead to go between the posts and level it at 12-12 early in the second. McConnochie re-established England's lead after a scramble for the ball near South Africa"s tryline and Mitchell's conversion from a tough angle hushed a packed Cape Town Stadium.

South Africa sailed smoothly through its earlier knockout games, beating Wales 33-0 in the quarterfinals and New Zealand 14-7 in the semifinals.

England needed a very late try by McConnochie to take its quarterfinal against Fiji to extra time, with Norton then scoring after a scorching break down the left in the first minute of extra time to see England through. England beat Scotland 33-14 in the semifinals.

Fiji, the series titleholder, completed a disappointing weekend by beating Kenya 33-21 for fifth place. New Zealand beat Scotland 24-19 in the bronze medal match.

Despite its Cape Town disappointment, South Africa still leads the overall series standings, now by two points from England with Fiji third.

The series takes a break before the third event of the season in Wellington, New Zealand, in late January.

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