Samoa triumph in the rain at Cape Town Sevens

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Samoa defeated New Zealand 12-7 in teeming rain to win the men's final of the Cape Town leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series on Sunday.

There was some consolation for the New Zealanders, however, with the women beating Australia 31-14 in their final.

RECAP | Cape Town Sevens: Deflated Blitzboks go down to USA in Bronze final

The conditions, which knocked out television coverage of the event, were almost unplayable after a storm broke over the Cape Town Stadium. Large pools of water settled on the surface, making running and handling difficult.

Faafoi Falaniko opened the scoring for Samoa in the men's final shortly before half-time but New Zealand took the lead after the break when Brady Rush scored under the posts for a converted try.

New Zealand led 7-5 going into the last minute when Samoa kicked deep into Kiwi territory. Unable to control the ball on the slippery grass, the All Blacks Sevens conceded a penalty and Vaa Apelu Maliko scored the winning try.

Samoa celebrated after the final whistle by diving and sliding across the field, sending up sprays of water.

Samoa earlier defeated South Africa 10-7 in sudden death extra-time in the semi-finals, thwarting the hosts' hopes of winning their first title on home soil since 2015.

The Blitzboks conceded a penalty in the first play of extra-time and Falaniko landed a drop kick from 30 metres.

There was more disappointment for South Africa when they were beaten 22-14 by the United States in the bronze medal match.

Fiji took fifth place, beating Argentina 29-5 in their play-off match.

Samoa climbed from seventh in the 2023 series standings to share top place with South Africa, who won the previous tournament in Dubai.

New Zealand and the United States are joint third, three points behind.

New Zealand won the women's title, upsetting previously indomitable Australia 31-14 in the final. Rain fell throughout although it was not as heavy as in the men's match.

New Zealand scored six tries against an Australian team which had only given up two tries in their first five matches.

The Black Ferns were not wholly convincing in a 14-7 semi-final win against Ireland but took control from the start in the final, taking a 21-0 half-time lead.

"It's been a bit of a grind but it all came together in the final," said player of the match Tyla Nathan-Wong.

The United States won the women's bronze medal match, defeating Ireland 20-12.

The next leg of the series will be in Hamilton, New Zealand, on 21-22 January.

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