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England gatecrash South Africa’s sevens party

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England’s players celebrate their victory on December 11, 2016, in Cape Town © AFP / RODGER BOSCH

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Dec 12England stunned South Africa 19-17 to win the Cape Town Sevens on Sunday after the hosts missed a last-gasp conversion.

Werner Kok scored a try in the final seconds while England were down to six men, but Justin Geduld couldn’t convert as England claimed a first World Series win since Tokyo in 2015.

“It was a tough tournament,” said England captain Tom Mitchell, whose side finished third at the season-opening Dubai Sevens last weekend, which South Africa won.

“We trained all summer and this makes it all worth it. We were a bit disappointed last weekend and we wanted to put it right. It’s been a bumpy road, but it always is.”

Chris Dry outpaced Mitchell to the line for the first try of the match before Richard de Carpentier hit back to give England a 7-5 lead.

Dan Norton added another try for England for a 12-5 lead at the break.

But Rosko Specman drew the Blitzboks level early in the second half before man-of-the-match Ruaridh McConnochie restored England’s lead.

In a tense finale, Norton was sin-binned in the last minute and Kok pounced to score in the corner. However, Geduld missed the tricky conversion to give England the win.

“We played well in Dubai and made the final in Cape Town, although we’re very disappointed that we could not win this for the wonderful local supporters,” said South Africa coach Neil Powell.

“We have won 11 of our 12 matches in the last two weeks and that is something we are proud of and pleased about. We did not play well enough in the final though and England managed to close our space down.”

South Africa made the final on Sunday with a 14-7 win over New Zealand while England swept past Scotland 33-14.

England are now second in the World Series standings on 39 points, two behind South Africa.

Olympic and World Series champions Fiji are third with 32 points while Scotland and New Zealand have 27.

The third leg of the tournament takes place in Wellington on January 28-29.

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