Aussies third in NZ sevens, Fiji win title

Australia secured third spot at the New Zealand rugby sevens in Hamilton with a last-ditch penalty goal as Fiji fought back to win the title from South Africa.

After Australia's hopes of a second consecutive tournament victory were dashed in their semi-final loss to South Africa, stand-in captain James Stannard sent over a 20-metre penalty drop goal after the siren to claim a nail-biting 8-7 win over New Zealand in the third-place playoff on Sunday.

With the Australians trailing 7-5 when the siren went and with the ball at their own end, the visitors worked the ball down field before New Zealand were penalised for a ruck infringement.

It served as something of a consolation prize for Stannard, who had endured a horror game in the 24-5 semi-final loss.

A week after they beat the Springboks 29-0 in the final of the Sydney tournament, Australia fell behind in the first minute of the semi when Stannard tripped trying to collect a pass and opened the gap for South Africa to intercept and score.

After South Africa scored the first two tries and Australia hit back on the break, Stannard had a chance to put his team in the lead but fumbled a difficult low offload within metres of the open tryline.

The game was then virtually over seconds later when Cecil Afrika went the length of the field to score following an attempted charge-down to put the Springboks up 17-5.

Stannard, a veteran of the competition, was then also pulled up for an errant lineout throw as Australia attempted to launch a late comeback.

South Africa then blew a 17-5 lead in the final as Fiji put on 17 unanswered points in the second half to claim a 24-17 victory and their first tournament win of the season.

It moved them to third on the series ladder and above Australia who are fourth, while South Africa still hold an eight-point lead over New Zealand at the top after four of 10 legs.

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