New Zealand claim Wellington sevens title

Burst of flames fire off behind the victorious New Zealand sevens team in Wellington.
Burst of flames fire off behind the victorious New Zealand sevens team in Wellington.
New Zealand captain DJ Forbes with the Wellington Sevens trophy.
New Zealand captain DJ Forbes with the Wellington Sevens trophy.
The victorious New Zealand sevens team perform a haka for the Wellington crowd.
The victorious New Zealand sevens team perform a haka for the Wellington crowd.
The New Zealand sevens team celebrate in the changing rooms after their Wellington Sevens final victory over South Africa.
The New Zealand sevens team celebrate in the changing rooms after their Wellington Sevens final victory over South Africa.
New Zealand captain DJ Forbes celebrates with the fans at Wellington Stadium.
New Zealand captain DJ Forbes celebrates with the fans at Wellington Stadium.
Sherwin Stowers has a disagreement with two England players during their semifinal.
Sherwin Stowers has a disagreement with two England players during their semifinal.
New Zealand's Ben Lam crosses next to the posts during the semifinal against England.
New Zealand's Ben Lam crosses next to the posts during the semifinal against England.
Kelly Meafua of Samoa scores tackled by Kenya's Biko Adema.
Kelly Meafua of Samoa scores tackled by Kenya's Biko Adema.
James Johnstone of Scotland runs in to score with Canada's Nanyak Dala in pursuit.
James Johnstone of Scotland runs in to score with Canada's Nanyak Dala in pursuit.
Head coach Simon Amor of England looks on during the Pool A match between England and Portugal.
Head coach Simon Amor of England looks on during the Pool A match between England and Portugal.
New Zealand's Ben Lam rides the tackle of a Fijian defender.
New Zealand's Ben Lam rides the tackle of a Fijian defender.
Emosi Mulevoro of Fiji dives over to score a try against New Zealand.
Emosi Mulevoro of Fiji dives over to score a try against New Zealand.
Sherwin Stowers dives in to score for the All Black Sevens.
Sherwin Stowers dives in to score for the All Black Sevens.
Argentina's Anibal Panceyra Garrido takes on the USA defence.
Argentina's Anibal Panceyra Garrido takes on the USA defence.
Rhodri Davies of Wales makes a break against South Africa.
Rhodri Davies of Wales makes a break against South Africa.

Of all the tries scored New Zealand's seventh Wellington sevens title will be remembered for the stinginess of their defence.

Gordon Tietjens' side ripped the IRB World Series lead from South Africa's grasp with a 21-0 win during a final that said as much about their pride as it did their skill.

After five successive losses to South Africa dating back to 2012, captain DJ Forbes and his men had clearly had enough.

Big forward Bryce Heem was the unsung hero of the final providing the off load for Tim Mikkelson's opening try and laying on Sherwin Stowers' second try before halftime.

At 21-0 it was New Zealand's title to lose.

South Africa, like Canada in the quarterfinal and England in the semifinals, must have been wondering if it was even possible to score a point against this Kiwi team.

New Zealand scored more tries than any other side at the tournament, with Stowers grabbing eight in total, but it was their tackling which stood head and shoulders above their rivals.

The home side's for and against since losing to Fiji in their opening pool match on Friday read 157-0 leading into the final after they blanked Canada 24-0, then defending champions England 31-0 to reach their ninth Wellington final.

By the time teenager Akira Ioane bundled Jamba Ulengo out in the corner in the dying stages of the final New Zealand had posted 178 points and 0 against. It will stand as sevens version of The Great Wall.

The crowd had partied hard all weekend, but they acknowledged the feat with a "D-Fence" chant echoing out of the horde of superheroes and fairy book characters in the stands.

Once again Tietjens was the master of tactics on a wet night.

New Zealand cleverly kicked and chased through the knock out stages in order to take the wet weather out of play and continued to do so early in the final.

Heem, as he had all tournament, provided a half break. He created the first try, turning the ball inside to Tim Mikkelson who raced 60 metres to score under the posts.

The crowd went wild when Stowers stepped through for the second try and a 14-0 lead and into raptures when he grabbed his second.

Tietjens also correctly backed Gillies Kaka to run the show at playmaker ahead of Tomasi Cama. Kaka responded with a coming of age performance.

Heem, Scott Curry and Forbes were all superb work horses, while Ben Lam got better with every outing and New Zealand's bench played a vital role including Ioane, whose future looks as big as the fend on the end of his lanky arms.

Ioane eased his way into the international arena in pleasing fashion. He scored a late try on day one, and then tasted big time sevens against Canada, before scoring the final try against England in a semifinal played in front of 30,000-plus.

He may be a trump card by the time he has played out the remaining four rounds of the World Series in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Scotland and England and on to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

High energy youngsters Ambrose Curtis and George Tilsley also added plenty throughout.

The win means New Zealand lead the series after relinquishing their lead to South Africa in Las Vegas when they lost a second successive final to the Blitzbokke.

South Africa were playing in their fourth straight final and going for their third straight tournament victory in the current series, but couldn't unlock New Zealand's defence.

South Africa had earlier advanced to the final with a 10-0 semifinal win over Fiji, a scoreless second half symptomatic of the wet conditions.

Fiji gained some consolation with a 14-7 win over England in the playoff for third.

Final: New Zealand 21 (Sherwin Stowers 2, Bryce Heem tries, Gillies Kaka 3 cons) South Africa 0. HT: 21-0. 

Semifinal: New Zealand 31 (Sherwin Stowers, Scott Curry, Ben Lam, Bryce Heem, Akira Ioane tries, Kaka 3 cons) England 0. HT: 19-0. 

The English team enjoying themselves.
The English team enjoying themselves.
The Canadian team gets into the party atmosphere.
The Canadian team gets into the party atmosphere.
Crowds of people line the streets to see the parade.
Crowds of people line the streets to see the parade.
Samoan dancers celebrate.
Samoan dancers celebrate.
The Portuguese team looking orderly and ready for action.
The Portuguese team looking orderly and ready for action.
DJ Forbes gives an interview during the parade.
DJ Forbes gives an interview during the parade.
A dancer joins the party.
A dancer joins the party.
Can can dancers add some flourish to proceedings.
Can can dancers add some flourish to proceedings.
And here comes the brass.
And here comes the brass.
Dancers bring some Fijian flavour to proceedings ... along with international man of mystery, Austin Powers
Dancers bring some Fijian flavour to proceedings ... along with international man of mystery, Austin Powers
Perennial crowd favourites Kenya hit town during the parade.
Perennial crowd favourites Kenya hit town during the parade.
City Fitness superheroes
City Fitness superheroes
The Canadian team soaks up the atmosphere in Wellington.
The Canadian team soaks up the atmosphere in Wellington.
Samoan dancers pose for a photo.
Samoan dancers pose for a photo.
The New Zealand sevens team relaxes ahead of the parade.
The New Zealand sevens team relaxes ahead of the parade.
Batucada dancers take to Lambton Quay.
Batucada dancers take to Lambton Quay.

Quarterfinal:New Zealand 24 (Scott Curry 2, Gillies Kaka, George Tilsley tries, Kaka con, Tomasi Cama con) Canada 0. HT:12-0. 

These fans got especially pixellated for the occasion.
These fans got especially pixellated for the occasion.
Richie Benaud fans Henry Cameron, left, Richie Ball and Choi Jackson.
Richie Benaud fans Henry Cameron, left, Richie Ball and Choi Jackson.
A belly dancer is escorted out of Westpac Stadium.
A belly dancer is escorted out of Westpac Stadium.
Dennis Watling comes to the Sevens each year - for the rugby - and was prepared for the rain.
Dennis Watling comes to the Sevens each year - for the rugby - and was prepared for the rain.
Scots Andre Hoggard, Caitlin Williams, Paige Kenning and Kit Bradley.
Scots Andre Hoggard, Caitlin Williams, Paige Kenning and Kit Bradley.
Minions from Auckland, Sophie Cameron, Morgan Smith and Larissa Pedersen.
Minions from Auckland, Sophie Cameron, Morgan Smith and Larissa Pedersen.
Smudge McNeilage and the paua women.
Smudge McNeilage and the paua women.
Kevin Banaghan and 'gorilla'.
Kevin Banaghan and 'gorilla'.
Wellington's Abigail Moir and Johnny Crothers as Ken and Barbie.
Wellington's Abigail Moir and Johnny Crothers as Ken and Barbie.
Hamilton cavemen and cavewomen.
Hamilton cavemen and cavewomen.
A Christchurch Hangover 'wolfpack'.
A Christchurch Hangover 'wolfpack'.
A gaggle of Billy T James'.
A gaggle of Billy T James'.
Jamaican bob sled team Ryan Walker, Mike Barnett, Mitch Steele and Blair Williams.
Jamaican bob sled team Ryan Walker, Mike Barnett, Mitch Steele and Blair Williams.
Norman Hemi, front, leads his wolf pack.
Norman Hemi, front, leads his wolf pack.
Monopoly women Nicola Taylor, left, Helena Quinn, Jan Grindle and Chantal Fuhl.
Monopoly women Nicola Taylor, left, Helena Quinn, Jan Grindle and Chantal Fuhl.
Mad hatters Clint and Teresa McKenzie.
Mad hatters Clint and Teresa McKenzie.
The Canadians: Shea Martinm, Meredith Barrett-Jones, Arielle Martin and Briana Hungerford.
The Canadians: Shea Martinm, Meredith Barrett-Jones, Arielle Martin and Briana Hungerford.
Beauty queens Katie O'Loughlan, left, Stacey Craig, Ashleigh McCutcheon and Rachel Watson.
Beauty queens Katie O'Loughlan, left, Stacey Craig, Ashleigh McCutcheon and Rachel Watson.
Tongan Native Americans.
Tongan Native Americans.
Amy Brookes and Ben Fox were actually pretty easy to spot in their Where's Wally? costumes.
Amy Brookes and Ben Fox were actually pretty easy to spot in their Where's Wally? costumes.
This group of lords and ladies seem dressed for a different kind of party altogether.
This group of lords and ladies seem dressed for a different kind of party altogether.
These guys escaped from jail just to join the celebrations.
These guys escaped from jail just to join the celebrations.
Cory Heather and James Scott as that perennial Sevens favourite, Speedo Cops.
Cory Heather and James Scott as that perennial Sevens favourite, Speedo Cops.
 Judy Brokenshire, Lyn Weir, Dale Thompson and Tracey Hall have been coming to the sevens for 14 years and counting.
Judy Brokenshire, Lyn Weir, Dale Thompson and Tracey Hall have been coming to the sevens for 14 years and counting.
Kurt Umbers and Hemi Hoskins are dressed as pop group LMFAO.
Kurt Umbers and Hemi Hoskins are dressed as pop group LMFAO.
Bo Simkin, left, and Claire parkinson both from Eastbourne as super heroes.
Bo Simkin, left, and Claire parkinson both from Eastbourne as super heroes.
Punters start their warm-up for the sevens. Pirates, from
Auckland, from left, Caznae Raynes, Ashleigh Robinson, Connor Robinson, Carol Robinson and Phil Raynes.
Punters start their warm-up for the sevens. Pirates, from Auckland, from left, Caznae Raynes, Ashleigh Robinson, Connor Robinson, Carol Robinson and Phil Raynes.
Back row from left, Robert Makene, Steve Burgess, Christine Paul, and front row from left Sapphire Martin and Maree Cheshire get ready to go.
Back row from left, Robert Makene, Steve Burgess, Christine Paul, and front row from left Sapphire Martin and Maree Cheshire get ready to go.
Punters, from left, Paul Garrett, Jesse Garrett, Brian Martelletti, Marcus Garrett, Shane Hamnett and Randy Toone, plan to arrive at the Sevens on horseback.
Punters, from left, Paul Garrett, Jesse Garrett, Brian Martelletti, Marcus Garrett, Shane Hamnett and Randy Toone, plan to arrive at the Sevens on horseback.
The "Jarmy Army", from left, Dean Holland, Dene Cassin, Herb Bell and Jeff Geayley warm up for the sevens on the Wellington waterfront.
The "Jarmy Army", from left, Dean Holland, Dene Cassin, Herb Bell and Jeff Geayley warm up for the sevens on the Wellington waterfront.
Ultimate sevens fan Waitangi Mika, centre, and the Doctours are ready for action.
Ultimate sevens fan Waitangi Mika, centre, and the Doctours are ready for action.
The Kinder Surprises: Anna Zobel, left, Wiebke Liebich and Laura Benecke.
The Kinder Surprises: Anna Zobel, left, Wiebke Liebich and Laura Benecke.
Fans dressed as the grumpy old men from the The Muppets.
Fans dressed as the grumpy old men from the The Muppets.
Fans soak up the atmosphere on day two.
Fans soak up the atmosphere on day two.
The Carousals, (from left) Steph Murray, Victoria Wallace, Emma Hickey and Kate Kelly.
The Carousals, (from left) Steph Murray, Victoria Wallace, Emma Hickey and Kate Kelly.
Fans enjoy the atmosphere during day two.
Fans enjoy the atmosphere during day two.
A gaggle of birds about to enter the stadium on day two.
A gaggle of birds about to enter the stadium on day two.
Caryn de Horatrus and Kevin Marshall.
Caryn de Horatrus and Kevin Marshall.
Penguins were comfortable in the cool conditions on day two.
Penguins were comfortable in the cool conditions on day two.
Phil Tanuvasa is resplendent in his clone outfit.
Phil Tanuvasa is resplendent in his clone outfit.

Wellington