The Kiwis were ecstatic when the final whistle blew after they lost the final to South Africa by 15-0 last weekend in Dubai.
With the top teams more physical than ever this weekend, it was no different in the final as the 14 players on the field smashed each other from start to finish.
The first half was a massive tussle typified by big hits from both teams as neither side gave an inch on defence. New Zealand probably had more possession and territorial advantage, but they failed to capitalize mainly due to significant intensity by the Blitzboks in defence, which forced a number of handling errors.
The Blitzboks, on the other hand, used their first opportunity in attack in the second half when New Zealand failed to control a chip through by Justin Geduld, chased hard by Seabelo Senatla.
The ball was knocked on and played from an offside position, but the Blitzboks played the advantage perfectly as Geduld followed up to score the first try of the match.
Shortly afterwards tempers flared with some off the ball stuff and the referee had to tell both teams to calm down as the tension rose on the field.
Ngarohi McGarvey-Black went over for the Kiwis’ first try, exploiting a few mistakes on defence by the Blitzboks, and the conversion put the New Zealanders ahead by 7-5 with less than two minutes to go.
The Blitzboks had one final chance to score, but they lost a lineout in the Kiwi half and from thereon, the New Zealanders didn’t make a mistake to seal the win and their second tournament victory in Cape Town.
Earlier on Sunday, the Black Ferns won the women’s tournament when they beat Australia by 17-7 in the final, to make it a double for New Zealand. The bronze medals went to Canada (women's) and France (men's).
South Africa 5 (0) – Try: Justin Geduld.
New Zealand 7 (0) – Try: Ngarohi McGarvey-Black. Conversion: Akuila Rokolisoa.
The Springbok Sevens team progressed to the HSBC Cape Town Sevens final after they beat France by 21-14 in a tough semi-final in front of a packed house on Sunday afternoon.
The Blitzboks made life difficult for themselves yet again as they conceded four first-half penalties again, which meant their defence was properly tested.
A minute before the end of the first half, France finally got over when Marvin O’Connor crashed through a tackle after they were camped in the SA 22.
But the Blitzboks had the final say in the first half when Ruhan Nel scored his third try of the day after the buzzer following some good interplay on attack. The scores were tied 7-7 at the break.
Great defensive pressure by the South Africans led to JC Pretorius’s try as France lost 40-metres from an attacking lineout before the Blitzboks turned over possession and the blonde speedster sold his opponent a massive dummy to go over untouched from 22m out.
A few minutes later, Siviwe Soyizwapi also got in on the action from a move that started deep in the Blitzboks’ half, through good handling and varying running angles confused the French defenders.
Assistant coach Renfred Dazel chats post France win and place in final against New Zealand. pic.twitter.com/B0BcC3AkT5
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) December 15, 2019
Justin Geduld’s third successful conversion put daylight between the teams, although France got a try after the buzzer, by Jonathan Laugel, to shrink the winning margin by seven points.
South Africa 21 (7) – Tries: Ruhan Nel, JC Pretorius, Siviwe Soyizwapi. Conversions: Justin Geduld (3).
France 14 (7) – Tries: Marvin O’Connor, Jonathan Laugel. Conversions: Jean Pascal Barraque, Paulin Riva.
In their first game on Sunday, the Springbok Sevens team secured their place in the HSBC Cape Town Sevens semi-finals when they beat Kenya by 17-5 in a very physical quarter-final characterized by a couple of massive hits.
The Blitzboks scored three tries – with Ruhan Nel dotting down twice – and had the big crowd on the edge of their seats for long periods of the game, as their African counterparts refused to give up.
A few unnecessary handling errors and missed tackles didn’t make life any easier for the South Africans though, but in the end they simply had too much power and pace for Kenya.
Kenya opened the scoring with a try by Alvin Otieno after they turned over possession deep in their own half.
Moments later Nel knocked on with an open try-line in front of him, but the big Blitzbok midfielder made amends soon afterwards as he swerved and powered his way over to tie the scores at 5-5, which was also the score at the break.
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) December 15, 2019
Midway through the second half, Nel gladly accepted another opportunity from a strong run after a great deep kick by Rosko Specman handed the Blitzboks a lineout 5m from the Kenyan try-line. Justin Geduld added the extras and at 12-5 the home team were in control.
With two minutes to go and Kenya hot on the attack on the SA 22, Chris Dry forced a breakdown penalty, and a minute later, they all but sealed the game when Selvyn Davids followed up a deft chip by Siviwe Soyizwapi for the Blitzboks’ third try.
The Blitzboks will face France in the semi-final, which kicks off at 14h39 on Sunday afternoon.
South Africa 17 (5) – Tries: Ruhan Nel (2), Selvyn Davids. Conversion: Justin Geduld.
Kenia 5 (5) – Try: Alvin Otieno.