New Zealand rose to joint top spot in the World Series rankings with victory in a close fought final of the South African Sevens tournament.

The All Blacks saw of the hosts in a nail biting 31-26 victory in the final and join Fiji at the top of the Tour rankings on 51 points after the first three events.

South Africa themselves are in third on 48 and England, winners in Dubai, are fourth just a point behind the South Africans. According to the Betfair Rugby betting exchanges, England had been favourites to top the World Rankings, but struggled.

New Zealand led twice in the first half but on both occasions the South African’s struck back. The Kiwis eventually took a 17-14 half time lead when Frank Halai ran in from long range to make the half time score 17-14.

South Africa again came out strongest in the early stages of the second half running in two further tries before New Zealand really got going. They still could not however shake off the Kiwis and they once again fought back, eventually sealing the win when Tomasi Cama latched onto a kick to score with the last play.

Elsewhere in the tournament Samoa finished third, defeating England in the play-off match. Wales won the Plate competition, Scotland the bowl and Zimbabwe the Shield competition, which went against the latest Rugby Union betting odds, which had Zimbabwe placed as rank outsiders.

The fact that Fiji were hammered 48-0 by Wales in the Plate final emphasises how open the whole series is. Fiji led on their own going into this tournament after strong showings in Australia(winners) and Dubai(3rd place), yet they had to settle for a place in the Plate competition this time round and they were humbled by a fairly average Welsh side.

Scotland’s plate victory of Canada was a much closer fought affair, they ran out 22-19 victors over the Pan American Games champions. The shield final was an all African clash, with Zimbabawe defeating Kenya 19-12.