New Zealand have been humbled in the final of the Las Vegas Sevens tournament, losing 40-21 to South Africa.
A late flurry of tries wasn't enough for the Kiwis as the South Africans ran rampant for most of the game.
An early try to Warren Whitely set the tone as South Africa ran in five tries to none in the first half as they took a commanding 35-0 lead into the second period.
Branco du Preez started the second half for South Africa the same way as the first, grabbing his second try of the final.
Eight turnovers in the first half alone told the story for the All Blacks Sevens side as messy ball handling was capitalised on by South Africa.
Ben Lam finally got New Zealand on the board when he bulldozed his way to the line with six minutes to go but poor defence let South Africa reply straight away through Stephan Dippenaar.
Tim Mikkelson and Gillies Kaka added late tries to give the scoreline a scrap of credibility but it was too little too late.
Earlier Samoa beat Fiji 36-31 for third place.
The Kiwis got through to the final on the back of an overtime win over Fiji in the semi-finals.
They led 14-0 at halftime after two converted tries to Mikkelson and Tomasi Cama but Fiji came back firing in the second.
With the score tied at 14 apiece at the final whistle the game went to extra time where the first score wins.
Fiji had the first opportunity with a penalty kick after a Kiwi infringement at the scrum but the ball sailed wide.
New Blues signing David Raikuna then showed some spectacular individual footwork and speed to cross for the game winning try.
The win for South Africa is their first of the World Series while New Zealand slipped to their third defeat in the four finals they have contested.
New Zealand still leads the series standings with 96 points while South Africa move up to second with 73 and Samoa are third on 71.
- © Fairfax NZ News