New Zealand team loses Tokyo Sevens final

12:56, Mar 31 2013
Tim Mikkelson
BEATEN FINALISTS: Tim Mikkelson scored a try, but it wasn't enough as New Zealand lost the final of the Tokyo Sevens to South Africa.

South Africa rallied with three tries in the second half on Sunday to defeat New Zealand 24-19 and win the Tokyo Sevens rugby title.

New Zealand held a 12-0 lead at the break but the South Africans erased the deficit early in the second half on tries by Seabelo Senatla and Cecil Afrika that were converted by Branco du Preez.

A penalty by du Preez and a try by Cornal Hendricks completed the scoring for South Africa.

Gillies Kaka, Tim Mikkelson and Ben Lam scored tries for series leader New Zealand, which holds a 32-point lead over South Africa in the standings with two rounds remaining.

South Africa beat France 14-12 in the semifinals and New Zealand advanced with a 35-17 win over Australia.

Last year's Tokyo Sevens winner Australia finished third, crushing France 31-7.

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AP