Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

NZ fight back again to beat Aussies in stunning sevens final

Rieko Ioane of New Zealand (L) is congratulated by teammate Sonny Bill Williams (C) after scoring the final try to win the 2016 Sydney Sevens final match. Photo / Getty Images
Rieko Ioane of New Zealand (L) is congratulated by teammate Sonny Bill Williams (C) after scoring the final try to win the 2016 Sydney Sevens final match. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand have fought back to win a stunning World Rugby Sevens Series cup final 27-24 against Australia in Sydney, rubbing salt into the wound of their controversial pool match draw against the hosts.

In a thrilling finale to the match, Rieko Ioane scored in the corner after the hooter to break the Aussies' hearts. They and the soldout Sydney Football Stadium must have thought the match was Australia's, only for Ioane to have the last say after an extended period of play in which the Kiwis did extremely well to keep the ball.

World Rugby will launch an investigation into why New Zealand fielded eight players in the final seconds of their 17-17 draw against the hosts on Saturday night but the Kiwis, who have made the late intervention something of an art form over the last week, will care little about that in the immediate aftermath of this victory.

They also left it late in the final last week in Wellington when striking at the death to beat South Africa, and against the odds, the have done it again.

Captain Tim Mikkelson said: "We knew it was going to be a tough game after last night.

We knew we would have to go the whole 20 minutes to have any chance of winning.

Joe Webber of New Zealand is tackled by Allan Fa'alava'au of Australia during the 2016 Sydney Sevens cup final match. Photo / Getty Images
Joe Webber of New Zealand is tackled by Allan Fa'alava'au of Australia during the 2016 Sydney Sevens cup final match. Photo / Getty Images

"They had us on the ropes in the first half. In the second half we just really needed to get the ball. It was good to get a result."

The Kiwis - dealt a tough hand by referee Rasta Rashivenga, who sinbinned Sonny Bill Williams for a high tackle - scored on the stroke of halftime through Kurt Baker, who ran the length of the field to dot down, to even the score at 12-12.

Despite being taken to extra time by England in the quarter-final, Australia showed little fatigue, although they did well to play the game at their pace.

For New Zealand, the victory capped a magic few days for the team and coach Gordon Tietjens after they took out the Wellington final against South Africa in such dramatic circumstances last Sunday.

It showed they are well on track for the Olympics in Rio, with Sonny Bill Williams improving with every outing.

Australia opened the scoring through 18-year-old Henry Hutchison, before Rieko Ioane scored a breakout try to even the score. Hutchison scored another in the corner, only for Baker to have last say of the half.

Sam Myers and Mikkelson swapped tries in the second half, before a converted Greg Jeloudev try in the final minutes looked to have sealed it for the Aussies.

However, Rieko Ioane scored in the right corner to get his side close, and then, incredibly, he scored in the left to clinch it.

New Zealand made the final after beating Fiji 14-12 in the semifinal, with Mikkelson's penalty for an attempted turnover in front of his posts with a minute remaining clinching it.

Fiji beat South Africa 26-12 in the third-fourth playoff.

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