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NZ lift world sevens series crown in style

Monday, May 12, 2014

Update: 7:33AM ALL Blacks New Zealand put the icing on another triumphant sevens rugby season with a brilliant fightback to beat Australia in the final of the tournament in London.

The All Blacks Sevens won the fluctuating match 52-33 at Twickenham after trailing 21-0 inside the first five minutes to clinch the ninth and final round of the series.

New Zealand had already secured their 12th crown in 15 series by advancing through pool play on Saturday, putting them out of reach of second-placed South Africa.

They weren't content with that, thumping South Africa 32-5 in the quarter-finals and crossing after the final hooter through Scott Curry to pip Fiji 12-10 in the semi-finals.

Gillies Kaka was a standout performer in the final, scoring 22 points and providing a key link in several of their eight tries.

He, Curry and Ben Lam scored two tries each while the others went to Adam Whitelock and Tim Mikkelson, for a New Zealand team who overcame their sluggish start to level the scores 21-21 at halftime.

It was 28-28 midway through the second spell before a three-try burst sealed the outcome.

The five-try Australians were seeking a rare tournament win to farewell long-serving coach Michael O'Connor, who has announced he won't continue in the role next season.

New Zealand captain DJ Forbes praised his side's work ethic and fitness after a second-successive 50-point winning performance in a final. They beat Canada 54-7 to secure the Glasgow title last week.

"You see all the flash stuff on the pitch but there's a lot of hard work behind the scenes, on the paddock back home," he told reporters.

"This is the only time you get your rewards, so it's good to finish off the world series with a bang."

Fiji's Samisoni Viriviri was subsequently named the International Rugby Board's player of the year.

The speedy wing headed off three other nominees for the award, including Mikkelson, who won the honour a year earlier.

Final standings:

New Zealand 180, South Africa 152, Fiji 144, England 134, Australia 116, Canada 90, Kenya 84, Samoa 79, Argentina 75

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