New Zealand sevens captain Liam Messam has apologised for his behaviour at the end of his team's World Series quarter-final defeat by South Africa in Singapore yesterday.

Trailing 12-7 with only seconds remaining, New Zealand - hot on attack - were penalised for holding on to the ball in the tackle. It was effectively the end of the game, with South Africa needing only to kick the ball out to claim the victory, but Messam kicked the ball away in frustration and was yellow carded, an act which might have cost him an appearance in his team's next match, a 31-7 thrashing of Australia in the plate semifinal.

He also walked off the field without shaking hands with his team's opponents.

Messam tweeted afterwards: "I just want to apologise for my actions after the QF. I let the moment and my passion get the best of me."

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New Zealand, boosted by the result against the Australians, ultimately finished the tournament in disappointment when losing 26-21 to Samoa. Messam played in that match.

Gordon Tietjens' men have slipped to third on the overall standings, behind Fiji and South Africa. There are two tournaments remaining - Paris and London - before the Rio Olympics.