New Zealand broke through to win the International Rugby Sevens Adelaide in their fifth attempt, defeating South Africa 28-20 to claim the 2011 title at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Kiwi Tomasi Cama scored two tries and kicked four conversions to propel New Zealand to their third victory of the season which also completed the back-to-back Hong Kong, Australia event double.
The victory extends New Zealand’s lead in the HSBC Sevens World Series standings to 13 points over England (121) after six events while Australia have retained their sixth placing on 52 points and Fiji (90) have dropped from third to fifth behind Samoa (100) and South Africa (92).
To the disappointment of the crowd – which set an event record of almost 27,000 over two days – Australia were outmuscled in their Cup quarter-final clash against reigning World Series champions Samoa and were knocked out of the race for the Cup 19-14 early in the day, before suffering a heartbreaking loss to Argentina 31-28 in the Plate semi-finals.
Wales went on to upset Argentina 14-7 to claim the second-division Plate final, USA toppled fan favourites Kenya 17-10 to win the Bowl and Japan beat Tonga 22-5 to claim the Shield.
Skipper Bernard Foley, who played no part in the semi due to injury, was bitterly disappointed with the loss.
“Our lack of experience and a lack of skill really let us down today,” Foley said.
“I thought the guys we’re really up for this weekend but we failed to play good football.
“We’ve got a break now and I guess we’ll look forward to trying to finish the season as we did last year, on a high.”
In the Cup quarter-final, Samoa were the first to score through a try to Alafoti Faosiliva before skipper Foley drew the young Aussies level at 7-7.
A brilliant effort in defence after the halftime siren from Queensland Reds winger Kimami Sitauti saw a certain Samoan try spoiled, returning possession to the Australians who scored from the ensuing play though Zack Holmes.
A half time 14-12 lead to coach Michael O’Connor’s men soon disappeared when Tom Iosefo broke into a gap in the Aussie scrambling defence to race away untouched to the line.
With the game in the balance at 17-14, referee David Keane drew the wrath of the vocal crowd when an isolated Samoan was allowed to play the ball on the ground, 10 metres out from the Aussie line, which resulted in a try to Ofisa Treviranus, knocking the men in gold into the second division competition.
Next, Australia were up against the feisty Argentineans, who on Saturday night almost pulled off an upset against England, in the Plate semi-finals and were immediately on the back foot when the Pumas found the tryline just 36 seconds into the match.
By half time the Aussies, without injured captain Foley, had clawed their way to a 14-12 lead through tries to Zack Holmes and Jacob Taylor and looked to have the match under control when Shaun Foley took their lead out to 21-12.
The Argentineans then fought back to have a 26-21 advantage but when Taylor touched down for his second try of the game and Angus converted the Aussies again appeared to be on their way to the Plate final as the siren sounded, despite losing vice-captain Ed Jenkins to a suspected shoulder injury.
With the ref ruling there was time for a final play, the Aussies took the restart, lost possession and Francisco Merello raced away to score a minute and a half into overtime to end Australia’s tournament.
Results Day Two:
New Zealand 28 bt South Africa 20
Wales 14 bt Argentina 7
USA 17 bt Kenya 10
Japan 22 bt Tonga 5
South Africa 19 bt England 0
New Zealand 33 bt Samoa 17
Wales 22 bt Fiji 21
Argentina 31 bt Australia 28 (Jacob Taylor 2, Shuan Foley, Zack Holmes tries; Angus 4 cons)
USA 29 bt Scotland 19
Kenya 24 bt France 10
Japan 31 bt Cook Islands 21
Tonga 24 bt PNG 19
England 17 bt Wales 12
South Africa 24 bt Fiji 12
Samoa 19 bt Australia 14 (Bernard Foley, Zack Holmes tries; Hamish Angus 2 cons)
New Zealand 47 bt Argentina 7
Scotland 28 bt Cook Islands 0
USA 22 bt Japan 19
France 21 bt Tonga 17
Kenya 26 bt PNG 17
Fiji 26 bt Australia 21 (Jacob Taylor, Greg Jeloudev, Zack Holmes tries, B Foley 3 cons)
England 21 bt Argentina 19
New Zealand 34 bt Kenya 14
Samoa 26 bt South Africa 17
USA 24 bt Tonga 12
Scotland 19 bt PNG 14
Wales 53 bt Cook Islands 0
France 40 bt Japan 7
Australia 28 (Angus 2, Brian Sefanaia, Ed Jenkins tries, Angus 4 cons) bt USA 10
Fiji 33 bt Tonga 14
Argentina 22 bt Scotland 7
England 45 bt PNG 12
Wales 26 bt Kenya 14
New Zealand 40 bt Cook Islands 7
Samoa 19 bt France 12
South Africa 21 bt Japan 12
Australia 40 (B Foley 2, Holmes, Angus, Kimami Sitauti, Tevita Kuridrani, Angus 5 cons) bt Tonga 14
Fiji 41 bt USA 5
Argentina 45 bt PNG 5
England 45 bt Scotland 7
Kenya 19 bt Cook Islands 12
New Zealand 36 bt Wales 10
Samoa 40 bt Japan 7
South Africa 19 bt France 0