SA turned upside down: Kwagga Smith is supported by Blitzbok captain Philip Snyman while team-mate Justin Geduld, left, looks on in the quarterfinal against Fiji. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
SA turned upside down: Kwagga Smith is supported by Blitzbok captain Philip Snyman while team-mate Justin Geduld, left, looks on in the quarterfinal against Fiji. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

New Zealand ruined the party by beating the Blitzboks 19-12 in the Cape Town Sevens semifinal on Sunday to hand the reigning World Series champions their first defeat of the year.

In the final the Kiwis were far too slick for Argentina, scoring six tries to down the South Americans 38-14.

Condemned to the third/fourth play-off, the South Africans beat Canada 19-17 to take bronze.

In the semifinal, a late try by Joe Webber‚ their third of the match‚ was enough to see the Kiwis over the line in a contest where they also survived a yellow card against Joe Ravouvou.

The Blitzboks won the season’s opening tournament in Dubai last week‚ beating New Zealand 24-12 in that final‚ and had won 10 matches since the start of the new season.

But the Kiwis gained the best possible revenge by beating SA on their home turf.

It was a remarkable comeback for the inexperienced New Zealand team, which lost 22-0 to the US in the pool phase on day one.

Argentina beat Canada 14-12 in the other semi, leaving the Blitzboks to contest the bronze medal match against Canada.

New Zealand scraped through their pool and then beat England 17-12 in a tight quarterfinal before edging their old foes to silence the capacity 58,500 crowd on a hot Sunday.

The Blitzboks led 12-7 at the break after making the near-perfect start when captain Philip Snyman scored in the second minute of the match.

Ravouvou received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle in the build-up to the try but the home team failed to take advantage of the situation and the Kiwis scored when Tim Mikkelson charged over and Vilimoni Koroi converted to edge New Zealand in front.

With time up in the first half Cecil Afrika slithered through a small gap in the Kiwi defence to score and give the Blitzboks a narrow 12-7 halftime lead after Branco du Preez converted.

Almost from the restart to the second half‚ Koroi showed lightning pace when he slipped through a Werner Kok tackle deep inside his own half and charged 80m to score a try that levelled the scores at 12-12.

After Webber’s try‚ the Blitzboks still had a chance to send the game into extra time and looked on their way to scoring with an overlap.

But Tim Agaba fumbled a pass inside the New Zealand 22 and the moment and the game were gone.

Earlier in the day the Blitzboks staged a remarkable fightback to beat Fiji 31-26 in a thrilling quarterfinal after trailing 21-5 just before halftime.

Star wing Seabelo Senatla was both villain and hero‚ in what was the game of the tournament so far.

Senatla scored the winning try against Fiji seconds from the end after Justin Geduld ripped the ball from a Fijian carrier. There was an element of fortune as the ball appeared to go forward but Senatla hacked ahead and collected to score his second try of the match.

The Blitzboks’ record try-scorer was yellow-carded in the first minute for a high tackle on his try line and a penalty try followed for Fiji‚ which immediately put the home team on the back foot.

TimeLIVE

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