NEW ZEALAND claimed their first title of the 2012/13 rugby sevens world series after thrashing France 47-12 in the final in Port Elizabeth.
Gordon Tietjen’s side lost to Fiji in pool play, but cruised past Wales 35-5 in the quarterfinals, came from behind to beat hosts South Africa 12-5 in the semifinal before outgunning Les Bleus in the decider.
The team finished runners-up in the first two tournaments of the series in Australia and Dubai, and thanks to the Fijians losing in the quarterfinals and Samoa not making it out of pool play, the Kiwis have extended their series lead from six to 14 points.
Tietjens told Fairfax NZ that it was ”important” to have finally earned a win after going so close in the first two legs.
”We talked about it briefly, we had to win this one and we were quite clinical today,” he said.
”The players performed magnificently today, and the younger players who came in did their bit when they had to.”
However it was the experienced Kurt Baker who was the key man on the final day, dotting down for seven tries.
He scored a hat-trick against Wales, and got the leveller against South Africa, before newbie Ben Lam touched down in the final minute to seal the result.
Baker then scored twice in the first half as New Zealand led 21-7 at halftime in the final, before put the finishing touches with the last five-pointer.
The next tournament is in Wellington in February.