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All Blacks Sevens claim third place in Sydney

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Lynn McConnell     05 Feb 2017     Getty Images

South Africa won the tournament to continue their domination of this year's series by beating England by the same score, 29-14, in the final.

It was an eventful tournament for New Zealand and one that suggested it may be back on the road to more consistent success. It came within an ace of making the final, denied only by a fine breakout try scored by England in their tight semi-final which had been locked up at 5-5 for a long period.

However, with time ticking down, and England hard on defence they moved the ball from their own line and while Vilimoni Koroi made a fine effort to tackle a flying Tommy Bowen, England had the support in hand and it was Oliver Lindsay-Hague who crossed for the winning try 1min 36sec from the end of play.

It was always on top in the bronze medal game against the Australians starting after a strong run by newcomer Andrew Knewstubb which saw Dylan Collier take an in-pass before feeding Rocky Khan in for the opening try.

Collier was able to score the second before Australia responded through Lachie Anderson who ran a lovely angle to take a pass from James Stannard.

But terrific scrum pressure from the New Zealanders saw DJ Forbes get reward with a key try just before half-time.

After the break Trael Joass scored his first try at this level after Regan Ware and Rocky Khan combined in an impressive breakout before a gigantic pass was thrown wide for Joass to cross easily.

Australia scored again through Brandon Quinn but it was too little, too late and they didn't help their cause when their restart went out on the full, a situation the New Zealanders used to advantage with Regan Ware finishing with a try.

Earlier New Zealand opened the scoring when Tim Mikkelson's long pass gave Ware time and space to cross wide out. It looked like a similar play, after a tighthead scrum win was achieved, would produce a similar result moments later but a forward pass was called.

England replied when Phil Burgess broke from the base of a ruck and did Koroi with a classic in-out move. England had achieved their place the hard way by beating South Africa in their pool game and they were left to try and repeat the feat in the final.

Earlier, New Zealand demonstrated the growing heart in their side by achieving an after-the-hooter 24-21 win over Fiji. Both side had players in the sin-bin in an at times fractious game, and at one stage Fiji were close to having two in the bin at the same time.

Sherwin Stowers was the New Zealand victim when leaping into a high tackle. Ware opened the scoring for New Zealand after set-up work by DJ Forbes and inter-play between Koroi and Iopu Iopu-Aso before the final ball to Ware.

The outstanding Fijian playmaker Jerry Tuwai got up to his mischief again to put Sevuloni Mocenacagi in for their first try. Ware replied with his second after Fiji were penalised but Tuwai saw Fiji in front when Kalione Nasoko scored.

Stowers got New Zealand back in front in the second half but Tuwai worked his magic again with Nasoko scoring his second and then replacement player Sione Molia capped off a length-of-the-field move which started after the final hooter when Scott Curry laid the foundation.

Fiji put in some determined defence but on their goal-line they were penalised and Stowers took a tap and fed Molia who scored the winner.

Curry said afterwards that they knew they would have to work to beat Fiji and it was pleasing players had been listening to what was put in place to achieve the win.

"We were really working for each other so that was what got us the win in the end," he said.