New Zealand clinched a thrilling 12-7 extra-time win over the Blitzboks in the Cup semi-finals of the Hong Kong Sevens on Sunday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
In an error-strewn encounter characterised by some poor passing and handling, the scores remained locked up at 7-7 heading into the final 30 seconds of extra-time, but New Zealand would once again emerge as the side to break South African hearts.
Regan Ware scored with the final play of the game to send New Zealand into the Cup final, while the Blitzboks will now have to set their sights on the bronze playoff against Australia.
The Blitzboks made the ideal start to the semi-final clash when former Kings player Tim Agaba dived over under the posts in the second minute after an early period of pressure.
Neither team was quite able to find the usual rhythm to their play in the opening stanza, though, with New Zealand notably making three handling errors to South Africa's one.
It meant there was just the one score separating the sides at the break, but the Kiwis made a dominant start to the second half, and Lewis Ormond finally went over in the corner after a lengthy spell of possession.
A superb touchline conversion from Gillies Kaka brought the scores level with just a couple of minutes left to play, and with the Blitzboks then squandering one last chance late in the game, the contest was sent into extra-time.
The scores still remained deadlocked after the first period of extra time as both sides again failed to make the most of opportunities with ball in hand, but it would be New Zealand that struck when it mattered most in the dying stages of the match.
Earlier in the day, the Blitzboks had proved to be too good for the USA as they powered their way to a 28-0 win in the Cup quarter-finals, with Seabelo Senatla scoring a brace of tries.
Having led 14-0 at half-time, Senatla scored his second soon after the restart before Siviwe Soyizwapi added his name to the score sheet to complete a comfortable victory.
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