NZ Sevens come up short, losing World Cup finals in Cape Town

Source: 1News

The New Zealand Sevens teams have come up short in their World Cup title defences on Monday morning after both making the final for the pinnacle event in Cape Town.

The All Blacks Sevens earned a place in the final after a hard-fought 17-10 win over tournament stunners Ireland while Fiji took down this year's series winners Australia 38-14 to meet them there.

Fiji got off to the perfect start with a superb offload allowing Joseva Talacolo to open the scoring before Kaminieli Rasaku added a second after a clean strip off a deep restart that caught the New Zealand men offguard.

The All Blacks Sevens didn't let the sudden 12-0 deficit sway them though as Moses Le'o struck back for the Kiwis in the right corner after a composed build-up from New Zealand - their first decent time with ball in hand in the match.

The Pacific powerhouse wouldn't be outdone though, carving the New Zealand defence in response with another long-range try finished off by Elia Canakaivata before another error saw Filipe Sauturaga scoop up a knock on, sell a dummy pass and waltz in to score at halftime.

Sauturaga's score saw Fiji leading 24-5 at the break but they had a chance to strike back straight away after Fiji's kickoff to start the second half went out on the full - the start of a sloppy second half from both sides.

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Akuila Rokolisoa made Fiji pay with a try on the right wing off an impressive run and offload from Le'o - a score that was even more influential for the New Zealand men with Talacolo yellow-carded for a high tackle against Rokolisoa as he scored.

While the All Blacks Sevens were unable to score during the two minutes of advantage, they were given another opportunity as Sevuloni Mocenacagi also yellow carded for dissent.

Again, the New Zealand side couldn't make good on the advantage and instead it was the Flying Fijians looking to score, leading to a third yellow card in the match as the All Blacks Sevens were also reduced to six players after Rokolisoa was sent off for a high card.

Despite their best efforts to crack the Fijian defence, the All Black Sevens couldn't get out of their own half while Fiji began celebrations on the sideline.

Amid the celebrations was a moment of sheer class from the Fijians though, with two players helping injured New Zealand player Lewis Ormond off the pitch.

Back on the field though, Pilipo Bukayaro sealed the final with a try after the hooter, the final score 29-12.

Earlier, the Black Ferns Sevens' World Cup title defence finished in heartbreak with old rivals Australia claiming another famous win after a final in Cape Town that went down to the wire.

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After beating France convincingly 38-7 in the semi-finals on Sunday night NZT, the Black Ferns Sevens returned to the Cape Town pitch to defend their title against old rivals Australia who had earned their own ticket to the final with a 17-7 win over the US.

The match got off to the perfect start for New Zealand with captain Sarah Hirini - playing in her record 50th tournament - forcing a turnover and penalty at a breakdown off the kickoff, eventually leading to Kelly Brazier diving in to the right corner to open the scoring.

However, nerves seemed to be showing for the Kiwis with Australia's Maddison Levi scoring back-to-back tries off a pair of errors; the first a missed tackle before Levi added a second moments later off a New Zealand knock on.

Risi Pouri-Lane ensured the scoreline would stay close at the break though, slicing through the Australian defence off the restart before Stacey Fluhler finished the play as the halftime hooter sounded with the Aussies ahead 12-10.

Another costly error put the Sevens Sisters on the back foot after halftime though with Niall Williams sent off in the opening minute of the second half for throwing the ball away from a Australian penalty.

Australia used the one-player advantage perfectly to score twice as Faith Nathan crossed the line moments later before Levi added a third try in the final.

That made the score 24-10 with three minutes to go in the contest but with the Black Ferns Sevens back to full strength, they were the next to strike as Shiray Kaka finished off a move sparked by Alena Saili.

Sharni Williams' conversion made it a one-try contest and after winning a penalty from the restart to regain possession, they had ever chance to send the contest to overtime.

Australia's defence desperately tried to hold on as the Kiwis attacked relentlessly but two minutes after the final hooter had gone, New Zealand finally cracked the line with Saili going over near the posts.

That left Tenika Willison to attempt the conversion to tie the final and send it to extra time but her effort shaved the left post, sending Australia into a state of euphoria with a 24-22 win.

In a beautiful display of comradery, the Black Ferns Sevens sprinted over to Willison to surround her as she dropped to her knees following the attempt.

The result leaves the Olympic champions with a Commonwealth Games bronze medal and Rugby World Cup silver this year.