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'It's a relief': How the ABs 7s stunned RSA in Cup final

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The All Blacks Sevens walked down the North-West tunnel at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium with heads hung low following a painful defeat to fierce rivals South Africa on Saturday.

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After last weekend’s painful defeat to Argentina in the Hamilton Sevens Cup final, the New Zealand Men’s team travelled across the ditch for a chance at redemption.

New Zealand began their Sydney Sevens campaign in red-hot form, as they registered big wins over minnows Uruguay and fallen giants Kenya.

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But their biggest challenge was yet to come.

Another enthralling chapter in the rivalry between New Zealand and South Africa was set to be written; the victor would claim top spot in Pool B, as well as bragging rights.

Sevens veteran Joe Webber opened the scoring, as he sidestepped his way through the seemingly immovable Blitzboks defensive line.

While a Shilton van Wyk try helped South Africa level the scores soon after, the two teams would trade another seven-points each before a dramatic finale was written into the Sydney Sevens script.

Dalvon Blood converted a penalty attempt with time up on the clock, which gave South Africa a 17-14 win at Allianz Stadium.

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The crushing defeat to their fierce rivals risked defining their campaign in Sydney, ahead of a quarter-final clash with Samoa.

But the All Blacks Sevens’ honoured the legacy of the jersey throughout their next three matches, as their desperation to win spoke volumes about the teas character.

After beating Samoa and France, New Zealand had one opportunity to right the wrongs from the day before; they’d face South Africa in the Cup final.

And it wasn’t even close.

New Zealand were unrelentless as they unleashed a point scoring onslaught on their helpless opponents; the All Blacks scoring six tries, and kept South Africa to zero – winning 38-nil.

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In their third straight Cup final, the All Blacks Sevens were finally champions once again – and hoisted the Sydney Sevens trophy alongside the Black Sevens, who were also victorious.

But after receiving their medals and thanking their supporters with a haka, the significance of the result began to sink in for sevens veteran Joe Webber.

With his gold medal around his neck, and his HSBC Player of the Final trophy in hand – his first in 12 years on the World Series circuit – Webber revealed what his team did differently in the final.

Nothing.

“Not much. We just stuck to the same game plan, same everything, same group,” Webber told RugbyPass.

“We knew we were so close to putting out a performance like that, we just (had some) silly errors and it was always our mistakes.

“We knew once we tidied that up and tidied our attack up, we could put a good performance together.

“I think our D has been unreal, like the whole tournament we’ve had not much tries scored against us so our D really gets us going.

“Unreal, it’s a wicked feeling.

“Especially after last week. We’ve been in three Finals, I’ve been in how many Finals; I haven’t won one since 2020, 2020 Hamilton.

“Been so close but it’s relief to finally get one, get the monkey off the back.”

New Zealand claimed an incredible World Series double at Allianz Stadium, as the Black Ferns Sevens also won their final – beating France 35-nil.

In both finals, the Kiwis had kept their opponents to naught.

New Zealand’s north island has been drenched with heavy rainfall and flash flooding this week, but as Webber discussed, the All Blacks Sevens are “thinking about” everyone back home.

“We’re always thinking about them, we’ve been thinking about them the last couple of days so hopefully that puts a little smile on their face,” he added.

“Send our love and just be safe, and hopefully everyone sticks together and helps each other out.”

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Comments

6 Comments
A
Andrew 506 days ago

The irony is that in losing the pool top spot, the Black 7s avoided the Fijians in the semis. This was rather like the 2019 RWC in reverse. The BBokke played their final against Fiji and had nothing left in the tank for the last game.

F
Flankly 506 days ago

"Unrelentless"? 🤔

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