Debacle in Dubai for Blitzboks

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While New Zealand built its lead atop the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series standings after two of six events, Canada vaulted over the move into second spot.

England's Phil Burgess runs to score a try as South Africa's Kyle Brown fails to stop him in a quarterfinal match of the Emirates Airline Rugby Sevens in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

Coming into this opening leg of the series in Dubai as the Player of the Year for the second successive time is truly humbling.

The 2019 edition goes March 9 and 10 at B.C. Place.

The two-time winners broke back through Dominique Du Toit, but Ellie Kildunne and Natasha Hunt both went over the whitewash to seal a ideal start to the event in Dubai.

The Kiwis had comfortably beaten the Eagles on Friday in pool play, but the final was in the balance until two minutes to go, when Andrew Knewstubb's second conversion to Dylan Collier's try gave New Zealand a safe 14-5 lead. "The boys put in an unreal shift, I'm really happy".

It looked like it would Zimbabwe's day as Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, who had been tipped by World Rugby to be one of the players to watch in the tournament, lived up to his billing to finish off a brilliant team effort.

Ombachi then responded for Kenya by scoring a brace before Olindi completed the comeback with a try of his own.

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In the semi-final against the U.S., played in the fading desert sunlight, Australia led 17-12 deep into the second half and had chances to close it out but small mistakes gave the Eagles an opportunity, with Stephen Tomasin levelling the scores.

Baker was then sin-binned for an intentional slap down and Australia took immediate advantage, feeding the ball out left to Porch for his second try of the game.

After losing 15-12 to Argentina in their final Pool match on the first day the Blitzboks still managed to top Pool A and set up a quarterfinal meeting with England.

I am hoping to contribute more than a year ago when I was concussed in the opening seconds of our first pool game.

After several more minutes of intense attacking pressure, including two and a half more after the buzzer, New Zealand's incredible defence was rewarded with Scott Gregory exerting himself on the breakdown and winning a penalty.

Fiji and South Africa will contest the fifth-place final.

Two Tom Mitchell tries helped England to a 22-5 win over South Africa and Tom Bowen scored in the semi-final, but England lost it 7-5 to New Zealand.