Belguim Tuatagaloa delivered the two decisive blows for New Zealand to propel them out of Pool C and into the Cup semifinals of the Las Vegas Sevens today.
The injury hit Kiwis will play Fiji tomorrow after wins over Argentina and Canada on the second day of the three day tournament.
Samoa and South Africa will play in the other semifinal during the fifth round of the IRB world sevens series.
Wellington's Tuatagaloa struck a disconsolate figure last week after missing a late tackle when New Zealand were knocked out of their home tournament by Kenya in the semifinals.
His confidence will be fully restored after twice coming off the bench to score second half tries in tight tussles with Argentina and Canada at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Against the Pumas, the Tomasi Cama captained Kiwis were tied 5-5 at halftime after Taranaki's Warwick Lahmert had traded tries with Matias Moroni.
Tim Mikkelson scored after the break before Tuatagloa's late converted try got the defending series champions home 17-5.
It was a similar story in the quarter final against Canada who trailed only 10-0 during a tight second half following first half tries to David Raikuna and Ben Lam.
Tuatagaloa's late 70-metre sprint put the match beyond doubt after a nice break and pass by Raikuna.
The day two action was a hit with the big local crowd after the host nation reached the quarter finals in dramatic fashion with a 22-7 win over Spain.
Unlike in Wellington, the USA were able to get the ball in the hands of speedster Carlin Isles, whose two tries proved decisive.
However, the Americans could not repeat in the the first Cup quarter final, edged out by Fiji 21-19.
The Fijians will be desperate to erase their poor showing in Wellington when they play New Zealand, a match scheduled for 8.30am NZT.
On the other side of the draw, defending champions Samoa beat Scotland 12-5 in their quarterfinal, while South Africa beat Wales 26-0.
Cama, who has replaced the injured DJ Forbes as captain, said it had been a tough, but satisfying day.
''We knew they [Canada] were going to be tough and come out firing. They got up. It was a tough one for us but we got there in the end.''It's [being captain] a bit different when I look at it, but I try to concentrate on my own game and hopefully the boys can go out there and do their job.''
The Cup final is scheduled for 11.30am NZT.
Two teams that won't be involved are Wellington champions England and beaten finalists Kenya.
The popular Africans could not repeat their feats of a week ago losing 15-5 to South Africa in pool play, and again to France, 21-17 in the quarterfinal of the bowl competition.
England were stunned by Scotland 14-0 in their final pool match, but managed to beat Australia 26-21 in their bowl quarterfinal.
- © Fairfax NZ News