Auckland stormed home to beat Taranaki 36-26 in the final to claim a 10th national sevens rugby championship title in Queenstown today.

Trailing 12-26 early in the second half of the 20-minute final, the young Auckland side scored the last four tries to emerge deserved winners and extend their record as the most successful union at the tournament. Next best are North Harbour with eight titles.

Taranaki were chasing their first title since 1982 and seemed set to do that when star playmaker Beauden Barrett crossed for their second try soon after the break, to follow first-half tries to Samu Vunisa and captain Cody Rei.

However, they struggled to match the overall speed of the Aucklanders, who were led by a hattrick to Samoan sevens international Tom Iosefo. He sizzled over twice midway through the second half before reserves - who sizzled over twice to reduce the scoreline to 26-24 before reserves Jarek Goebel and Tenina Sauileoge carried Auckland home with late tries.

The Wayne Pivac-coach Auckland were the most impressive side throughout the two-day event played in warm temperatures. Players such as Ed Cocker and Bryce Heem cemented their reputations while others like Malakai Fetitoa, Joe Tupo and Rocky Khan emerged as stars of the future.

Earlier today they hammered hosts Otago 38-12 in the quarterfinals and pipped Counties Manukau 19-12 in a physical semifinal.

Taranaki, who reached the semifinals last year, accounted for Hawke's Bay 21-19 and pre-tournament favourites Bay of Plenty 24-12. Barrett was a brilliant figure for them while Vunisa and Jackson Ormond were impressive throughout the tournament.

North Harbour won the Plate final, thumping defending champions Waikato 47-15.

- NZPA