The All Blacks Sevens won the fourth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney, beating hosts Australia 27-24 in a breathtaking final.
Having never led in the final, Rieko Ioane scored his hat-trick try with the last play of the match to give New Zealand the victory in front of a sold-out Allianz Stadium crowd of 37,095.
In a repeat of the 17-17 draw in the final pool match of day one, it was only Australia’s second Cup final on home soil having won the 2002 Brisbane Sevens. But they came up against an inspired Sir Gordon Tietjens’ side that never gave up despite Henry Hutchison twice giving Australia the lead in the first half, and Sam Myers and Greg Jeloudev doing the same in the second half.
New Zealand remain in third with the win but move to the same points as leaders Fiji (69), who reclaimed top spot by beating South Africa 26-12 to finish third in Sydney, and the second-place Blitzboks with points difference separating the three teams at the top.
New Zealand captain Tim Mikkelson said: “I just want to thank Aussie, for an awesome two games over the weekend, you guys played awesome and this is an awesome tournament that will just grow from year to year.
“To the fans, all the New Zealanders, thanks for coming out and supporting us. And to our boys, another awesome effort, we said it would take 20 minutes to win and we just kept on going and we got the victory in the end.”
In the quarters New Zealand beat USA 24-7, with Andy Friend’s side coming from 12-7 behind to beat England 17-12 in sudden death extra time. Having come off the bench 18-year-old Henry Hutchison scored in the corner to level the scores, before securing a turnover and dotting down for the winning try to send the crowds wild.
Argentina proved themselves to be worthy winners of the Plate at the HSBC Sydney Sevens after a solid team performance against Kenya gave them a 24-0 win.
Nicolas Menendez opened the scoring for Santiago Gomez Cora’s side as Argentina played with fluidity in the first half. A sin bin for Nelson Oyoo in the second half put even more pressure on Kenya when he took down Franco Sabato in a foot race to give Argentina a penalty try. Sabato bagged his own try shortly after, with Axel Muller also joining in the fun with his own score.
HIRAYAMA AT THE DOUBLE IN THE BOWL
Canada’s Nathan Hirayama scored twice in the Bowl final as his side won all three of their matches on day two to win the Bowl. Following wins over Scotland and Wales, Canada beat Samoa 17-12 to claim eight points for their overall series tally.
Canada captain John Moonlight said: “We had a rough first day, probably didin’t put the performances in we wanted to, so better to come out today and get three wins and leave here happy.”
MORGAN HELPS WALES END ON A HIGH
Wales beat Russia 26-19 to lift the Shield after a tough weekend in Sydney. Welsh flyer Luke Morgan scored a hat-trick in the win and despite the Russians tying things up in the second half after German Davydov spun his way through the Welsh defence, they ended up disappointed when Ethan Davies got his name on the scoreboard after Morgan had earlier completed his hat-trick.