SYDNEY. — Rieko Ioane scored after the final siren to deliver New Zealand a thrilling 27-24 win over Australia in the Sydney Rugby Sevens World Series final yesterday.
The Australians led 24-22 into the final seconds but were unable to hold on to possession, giving the Kiwis the chance to snatch victory with player of the tournament Ioane finishing with his third try of the final.
New Zealand similarly snatched a last minute win at last weekend’s Wellington Sevens, downing South Africa 24-21 with a try after the final hooter.
The Kiwis are now in a three-way share of the top spot in the World Series standings along with Fiji and South Africa on 69 points with Australia in fourth place on 54.
The final was a family victory with Ioane’s older sibling Akira picking up his second Player of the Final award in as many weeks.
The 12-time World Series champions broke Australia’s hearts on Saturday as well, again scoring after the final siren to snatch a 17-17 draw in their pool game.
“I just want to thank the Aussies for an awesome two games over the weekend, you guys played awesome and this is an awesome tournament that will just grow from year to year,” New Zealand captain Tim Mikkelson said.
“We said it would take 20 minutes to win and we just kept on going and we got the victory in the end.”
The Australians, who surprisingly left their new high-profile Wallaby recruit Quade Cooper out of the weekend squad, exploded to a 24-17 lead with a runaway try by Greg Jeloudev with 3:13 minutes left.
But Rieko Ioane scored his second try off an overlap with 1:20 minutes to go before his shows-topper try after the siren.
New Zealand’s All Black star Sonny Bill Williams was sin-binned for a high tackle late in the first half and played only a minor role in his team’s victory in the final. — AFP.