New Zealand break 21-month drought to win Cape Town sevens title

The New Zealand men's sevens team celebrated their first Cup final win in 21 months with a new haka. 

New Zealand outclassed Argentina 38-14 in the Cup final in Cape Town, South Africa, on Monday morning (NZT) for an overdue tournament win, their first since March 2016 in Vancouver, a run of 15 tournaments without a title win.

They celebrated the triumph with a customary post-tournament winning haka, performing Tū-Te Toa o Te Riri for the first time on the World Series circuit. The New Zealand men's team unveiled the haka at the 2016 Olympic Games when they were welcomed into the Olympic village.

The victory ensured the Clark Laidlaw-coached side will enter 2018 on top of the standings after two rounds of the IRB world sevens series, holding a two point edge over South Africa. Sydney hosts the next tournament from January 26-28.

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After being embarrassed 22-0 by the United States in their opening pool match on Sunday (NZT), New Zealand were able to turn it around, winning five straight matches on their way to the silverware.

New Zealand captain Scott Curry saluted his side's tenacity throughout the tournament, having recovered from a Cup final loss to South Africa in the series opener in Dubai last week.

"Just over the moon really. So proud of how the boys played, not only this weekend, but last weekend as well. It could've gone either way after we lost the first game against USA, but the boys have bounced back and played like we did the rest of the weekend - massively proud."

Curry acknowledged the USA loss was a stern wake-up call, but said things could change quickly in the sevens game.

"That's the thing about sevens. Day two is another day and we start fresh. We talked about starting fresh and really working for each other and that's what won us those three games [on Monday]."

Leading 14-7 at halftime in the final, New Zealand scored the all-important first try of the second half. Tim Mikkelson finished off a break from Vilimoni Koroi to give the Kiwis breathing space. 

A second try to final MVP Joe Ravouvou moments later, all but guaranteed the title. Regan Ware ran in New Zealand's fifth to make it 31-7 before Argentina added a late consolation try. 

Ravouvou got New Zealand off to a perfect start, breaking out of several tackles close to the line after an earlier crooked lineout from Argentina.

New Zealand were in charge at 14-0 shortly after with Koroi breaking away from a scrum to dot down.

Argentina pegged back a much needed try to close out the first half with Lautaro Bazan Velez crashing over to cut the deficit to seven. 

Auckland wing Ravouvou was superb in the final, regularly breaking out of tackles, while teenager Koroi was another standout and looks destined for a bright future.

South Africa took out bronze after overcoming Canada 19-17. 

New Zealand advanced to the final after beating South Africa 19-12 to gain payback for last week's Cup final loss.

Earlier, New Zealand left it until the final minute as they beat England 17-12 in a thrilling quarterfinal.

England captain Tom Mitchell's sin-binning proved costly, however, and Ravouvou took advantage of the extra man to score the winner in the final minute.

A place in the final had seemed highly unlikely at the start of the weekend, with the All Blacks sevens side thrashed 22-0 in their opening match by the USA, before rebounding to crush Spain 50-0 and comprehensively beat Australia 35-12 on day one.

AT A GLANCE:

Cup final: New Zealand 38 (Joe Ravouvou 2, Vilimoni Koroi, Tim Mikkelson, Regan Ware, Sione Molia tries; Andrew Knewstubb 3con, Isaac Te Tamaki con) beat Argentina 14 (Lautaro Bazan Velez, Luciano Gonzalez tries; Velez 2 con) HT: 14-7.

Points after two rounds: New Zealand 41, South Africa 39, Fiji 28, England 27, Argentina 24, Australia 21. 

 - Stuff

Fuente: WAIKATO TIMES