Australia beats NZ in a 7s final for first time in 20 years

·2-min read

LONDON (AP) — Australia beat New Zealand in a rugby sevens world series final for the first time in 20 years at Twickenham on Sunday.

Henry Paterson starred for Australia in the London Sevens final with a hat trick of tries, including the winner in golden point extra time, and a try-saving tackle that prevented New Zealand from winning after the siren in regulation time.

Australia's 19-14 triumph was its first against New Zealand in a men's sevens cup final since 2002, and it's first anywhere since 2018.

The Australians are also in a three-team hunt for their first world series title, which will be decided in the ninth and last leg in August, at the LA Sevens in Carson, California.

South Africa, beaten in the quarterfinals in London, has the overall lead from Australia by two points and Argentina by six.

New Zealand was favored in its series-leading 100th cup final after beating Australia in the pool stage, and Fiji 22-19 in the semifinals.

But Australia struck first when Ben Dowling's break finished with Paterson cutting back off Matthew Gonzalez for the only try of the first half.

New Zealand hit back with converted tries by Akuila Rokolisoa from a stolen kickoff and Leroy Carter from Dylan Collier's offload.

Paterson tied the score on 14 with two minutes left with a second try in which he burned the New Zealand line with speed.

Then, after the full-time siren, New Zealand's Caleb Tangitau appeared to be sprinting free on the outside but Paterson tackled him into touch, forcing extra time.

From the kick re-start, Josh Turner tapped the ball back to the Australians and it was spread wide for Paterson to run in and secure their eighth title in series history.

Paterson was asked which he liked most, the winning try or the try-saving tackle. He picked the tackle.

"That will keep the coaches happy,” he said.

Captain Nick Malouf said the squad had looked at photos during the week of Australian teams winning past titles and used it as motivation.

“We’ve worked so hard for this so I’m glad we’re finally got the reward that I feel like we’ve deserved," he said. "This is the first Cup final that I’ve or anyone in this group has won. We knew it was possible, so to come out here and do it is incredible.”


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