But it was Fiji who had a weekend to remember, defeating France 21-7 in the Cup final to claim their fifth straight Hong Kong Sevens title.
The All Blacks Sevens side had a difficult start to the final day, going down to France 14-12 in the Cup quarterfinal. The win created history for the French, it’s the first time they have ever beaten New Zealand in Hong Kong.
After a long passage of attacking play early in the second half, Andrew Knewstubb closed the gap to 14-12. New Zealand had a couple of other opportunities in the second half to hit the lead, but they were unable to convert. France were solid on defence and managed to hold onto possession for the final 90 seconds and deny the All Blacks Sevens a ticket to the Cup semifinal.
New Zealand bounced back from their earlier loss, with a 17-10 win over England in the fifth place semifinal.
Dylan Collier had a standout performance, his impressive foot work was on display as he stepped passed defenders to score New Zealand’s second try. He then passed an incredible offload to Tone Ng Shiu who dotted down midway through the final spell.
A special @ULdialogue Mark of Excellence Award is awarded here in Hong Kong, after a number of teams showed solidarity for New Zealand and the recent events that affected the country #EmpoweringTrust UL pic.twitter.com/a2hQAz2Pce— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 7, 2019
New Zealand’s ill-discipline and unforced errors were their downfall in their fifth place playoff loss to Argentina.
Kurt Baker scored first in the playoff, but it was Argentina who dominated in the last few minutes before the break. They scored right on halftime in the corner. The referee went upstairs to check with the TMO that Agustin Segura’s hand hadn’t gone into touch. The try was awarded, and Santiago Mare slotted a difficult conversion from the sideline to give Argentina a 14-7 lead at halftime.
It didn’t take long for the All Blacks Sevens to strike back, Tone Ng Shiu fending off defenders and barging his way to the line. He was able to score under the posts, allowing an easier conversion for Akuila Rokolisoa who tied it up 14-14 with three minutes to play.
Unfortunately, the penalty count mounted for the All Blacks Sevens and Baker was yellow carded for throwing the ball away. Down to six men in the final few seconds, New Zealand’s defence held up until Matias Osadczuk slipped through two tacklers and dotted down under the posts to claim the 21-14 win.
In other results, USA beat Samoa 22-10 in the bronze medal match and Ireland booked themselves a place in the 2020 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series after defeating Hong Kong 28-7 in the qualifiers final.
In the overall standings, the All Blacks Sevens have been leapfrogged by Hong Kong champions Fiji, who now sit in second place on 123 points. New Zealand are in third with 118 points and USA still lead on 130 points.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series swiftly moves onto Singapore this coming weekend. The All Blacks Sevens will take on Japan, Spain and Samoa in pool play.
All Blacks Sevens results – Day 3
Cup quarterfinal: New Zealand 12 (K Baker, A Knewstubb tries; A Knewstubb con) France 14 (T Veredamu, G Villiere tries; S Parez 2 con)
Drawn in Pool D, the #AllBlacks7s will meet Samoa, Japan and Spain at next week’s #Singapore7s pic.twitter.com/COCSuAFCvl— All Blacks Sevens (@AllBlacks7s) April 7, 2019