New Zealand’s All Blacks Sevens’ fourth place the HSBC World Series Sevens at Cape Town cost them their lead on the points table as the United States, twice beaten finalists, will carry a one-point lead into the Hamilton tournament on January 26-27.

Fiji won the Cape Town title when beating the United States 29-15 in Monday’s (NZT) final. New Zealand beat the USA to win the Dubai first leg final.
The United States have 38 points, New Zealand 37, Fiji 35, England 30, South Africa 29 and Australia 25.

South Africa had been a successful venue for the All Blacks Sevens, they’ve made the final for 10 of the last 12 years, but they had to settle for fourth place when beaten by the hosts 5-10 in the bronze medal playoff game.

New Zealand started well when Amanaki Nicole went close to scoring. But a penalty was secured and Sione Molia saw a pass to Etene Nanai-Seturo fall short of the mark. But in returning the pass to Molia, Nanai-Seturo was more accurate and Molia scored.

However, a deliberate knock down ruled by Vilimoni Koroi saw him sin-binned and while New Zealand kept South Africa out until he returned, soon after Werner Kok won a lineout and drove over to level the scores.

New Zealand lost Nicole to a hamstring injury just before Dewald Human capitalised on a break opened by Selvyn Davids to score. Davids was back in the action as the All Blacks Sevens tried to steal their second win at the death over South Africa in two days, only to see Davids force an error as Dylan Collier made a strong break down the sideline.

That was enough for South Africa to claim the win.
New Zealand started the day when meeting Australia in their quarterfinal. They started well by having Nanai-Seturo put his sidestep to use to round Maurice Longbottom to score the opening try and they scored again when Nicole cut back on the right wing to run in the second try.

Australia responded when Longbottom secured loose ball from a ruck to combine with Jesse Parahi to get Australia under way.

However, just before the halftime break Nicole received an inside pass from Sione Molia for the All Blacks Sevens to claim a 21-5 lead at the turn.

Into the second half New Zealand forced Australia deep into their own territory and when a penalty was awarded Nanai-Seturo slipped the ball to Nicole who completed his hat-trick.

Australia scored the final two tries of the game to Ben O’Donnell off a John Porch kick ahead and Henry Hutchinson but they had left their run too late and the All Blacks Sevens won 26-10.

In the semifinal New Zealand met the United States who qualified after a win over England. Starting fast the USA scored first through Stephen Tomasin. They backed that up by pounding the strong New Zealand defences although after two scrum penalties against them New Zealand saw Folau Niua slip an offload to Martin Iosefo who scored to take them to a 12-0 lead.

Worse followed for New Zealand when Ben Pinkelman defied a tackle to get the ball to Danny Barrett. He ran hard down the right flank, beat Vilimoni Koroi’s tackle and crossed. But a USA turnover saw Madison Hughes make a strong run before passing inside where Perry Baker took the ball to score and go out to a 24-0 lead.

New Zealand finally got on the board when from a ruck Dylan Collier secured the ball to hand it to Andrew Knewstubb who scored. But the USA were in no mood to give New Zealand a chance and they provided Carlin Isles with an opportunity and he wasn’t denied.

Just before the end Taylor Haugh scored New Zealand’s second try but all too late, to make it a 31-12 win for the USA.