Sevens win over South Africa no consolation for frustrated Scott Waldrom
Sevens co-coach Scott Waldrom was left bemoaning a lack of consistency when New Zealand stumbled in Singapore, a tournament he considered "probably there for the taking".
New Zealand Sevens finished fifth by beating series leaders South Africa in a playoff match, after being knocked out of the title race by Canada, who beat the United States in the final.
Waldrom was a picture of frustration after a tournament he described as "a bit of a mixed bag".
He said the team was "still hurting from the quarterfinals, we didn't front, we let ourselves down."
While he was proud the side scraped themselves off the ground to beat Kenya, then South Africa that meant little overall.
"In the end it still goes back to the quarterfinal and the hurt of losing that to Canada," he said.
"There's been some great stuff there in terms of the way the guys are playing, but we obviously didn't get the results in a tournament that was probably there for the taking."
"It's the same old story, it's consistency. We get yup when we know it's a big game and we don't quite front in games we think we should win."
New Zealand beat Kenya 24-21 on day two before coming from behind for a 17-12 win over the Springboks Sevens.
New Zealand are fourth in the world standings on 110 points, trailing South Africa (157); Fiji (132) and England (130).
The All Blacks sevens side trailed at halftime against South Africa, with Joe Ravouvou's try sending them to the break down 12-7. Sione Molia levelled the scores upon the resumption before Vilimoni Koroi scored in the corner to seal the win.
Earlier, in the quarterfinals, an abysmal effort in defence from New Zealand meant the Canadians were able to run rings around them, in an unexpected 26-14 result after the Kiwis were left unbeaten on day one of the tournament on Saturday.
Canada were the first to strike through nuggety half Nathan Hirayama, after referee Paulo Duarte penalised New Zealand in front of the goal line. The Canadians took the tap and spun the ball safely out wide where Hirayama was able to step two lines of defence and fall over the line.
New Zealand's first try came from the individual brilliance of Regan Ware, who threw the dummy to draw defence and run 70 metres to the tryline, keeping his side in the game and locking the scores up at 7-all.
However, it was all Canada from there onwards, as New Zealand's defence started to falter and the team looked fatigued for the remainder of the match.
Hirayama was gifted his second try when Canada's Mike Fuailefau ran 60m through several missed tackles and shipped the ball off to Hirayama in close support to score out wide, taking the lead to 12-7.
Fuailefau scored one of his own shortly after in the corner to take Canada into the break 19-7 in front.
New Zealand came out of the break a little hungrier and were able to take the first points through Trael Joass, but that was their last show of anything special as they let themselves down with soft defence again.
Canada were able to secure the win well before the fulltime whistle when Hirayama worked his way through a tiring New Zealand side for his hat-trick, final score 26-14.
Canada went on to record their first World Rugby Sevens title, beating the US 26-19 in the final.
Joe Webber was expected to be back from a groin niggle to play in Paris in May, with Scott Curry and Tim Mikkelson also expected to be fit.
"It's another opportunity for us to get things right, and I'm looking forward to it," Waldrom said.
Canada 26 (Nathan Hirayama 3, Mike Fuailefau tries; Hirayama 3 con)
New Zealand 14 (Regan Ware, Trael Joass tries; Vilimoni Koroi 2 con)
FIFTH PLACE PLAYOFF SEMIFINAL
New Zealand 24 (BT Waaka, LH Ormond, T Joass tries; BT Waaka (2) con)
Kenya 21 (Dombachi, B Tanga, D Magar Dulo tries; E Agero (2), L Ligamy con)
FIFTH PLACE PLAYOFF FINAL
New Zealand 17 (Joe Ravouvou, Sione Molia, Vilimoni Koroi tries, 1 con)
South Africa 12 (Steadman Gans, Philip Snyman tries, 1 con)