New Zealand created history at AT&T Park on Sunday with their 33-12 victory over England making them not only the first nation to win back-to-back Rugby World Cup Sevens titles but also the first to lift the Melrose Cup on three occasions.
The victory also ensured that just as in Moscow five years ago, New Zealand completed the double with the Black Ferns Sevens having won the women's crown on Saturday evening in San Francisco.
Sione Molia gave the All Blacks Sevens the dream start after shrugging off England captain Tom Mitchell's tackle to race under the posts inside the first minute. His second came from much closer range, Molia simply reaching over the line from a breakdown on the England line.
Dan Norton, one of four survivors from England's loss at RWC Sevens 2013 Moscow, in their 2018 squad, gave England hope when he broke on the stroke of half-time and enabled Mike Ellery to run round under the posts to make it 14-7 at the break.
New Zealand lost Molia to a head injury assessment at half-time, but they edged further ahead when Joe Ravouvou scored his sixth try of the tournament – enough to share the HSBC Top Try Scorer award with South Africa flyer Siviwe Soyizwapi. Ruaridh McConnochie hit back instantly for England after good work by Ollie Lindsay-Hague and TUDOR Breakthrough Player of the Tournament Harry Glover.
That proved only a temporary setback for New Zealand as tries from Akuila Rokolisoa and Trael Joass touching down to ensure the celebrations could begin early.
New Zealand co-captain Mikkelson, part of both 2013 and 2018 successes along with Kurt Baker, said: “We knew coming in it was going to be tough. We nearly got knocked out by France but raised it against Fiji. Credit to the coaching staff, the coach brought the boys together. We didn’t get the results but we kept on working.
“The double is huge, both the men and women train in the same place and they put pressure on us by winning their final. Credit to England who played amazing this weekend and we’re humbled to get the victory.”
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HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Champions South Africa recovered from the disappointment of their semi-final loss to beat Fiji 24-19 to claim the bronze medal, the Blitzboks' best finish at a RWC Sevens since they lost to the same opponents in the 1997 final in Hong Kong.
Fiji never really recovered from the disappointment of losing their semi-final to New Zealand but did finish strongly with tries by Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova.
Meanwhile, Australia were pipped by Ireland on day three to finish runners-up in the Challenge Trophy. The Aussies who had convincingly defeated Canada 19-7 earlier that morning were unable to grasp momentum after Ireland had a faster start and were left fighting back the whole match going down 24-14.
Qantas Australian Men's captain, Lewis Holland said: "It wasn’t at all the way we wanted to finish this tournament. The first game of the tournament was a bit shaky and we kind of built really well in the last two games but they aren’t the games we want to be in.
“To die in that last game against Ireland, they’re a good side, but we went away from things we’ve spoke about and it’s disappointing. We didn’t get what we came over for, really.
“It’s in us (to win these tournaments) there’s no doubt about that, we just need to revisit (past wins) and produce that,” Holland said
In the other play-offs in the Challenge bracket, Samoa defeated Kenya in a close 19-17 win before edging past Russia 22-17 to finish in 13th place.
In the bowl matches Papua New Guinea enjoyed two victories on day three. The Pukpuks emphatically beat fellow RWC Sevens debutants Jamaica 52-7 and then Oceania rivals Tonga 31-14, who had earlier in the day dismissed Zimbabwe 31-5, to the delight of the AT&T Park crowd. The Pukpuks finished in 21st place with Tonga in 22nd.