The All Blacks Sevens are out of the Cup section at the Hong Kong Sevens.
New Zealand fell 21-19 to series leaders South Africa after leading 12-7 at halftime, but will be kicking themselves after allowing the Blitzbokke back into the game with errors and lapses in concentration. The final score looked closer than it actually was, as Sam Dickson scored a late try, which was converted, to pull New Zealand to within two points.
New Zealand started the match with only 11 to choose from in the squad, as Iopu Iopu-Aso was suspended for four matches due to a dangerous tackle in the loss to Fiji last night.
But they did score two fine tries, to Regan Ware from a Vilimoni Koroi sleight of hand, and Sione Molia, assisted by Ware and Trael Joass, for a 12-7 halftime lead before South Africa, a less formidable force than the side that has made every Cup final in 2016-17, poured on the second spell pressure. New Zealand could not cope.
The upshot is that South Africa will now face USA and Australia meets Fiji in the Cup semifinals. New Zealand will have a shot at fifth place, facing England at 7.09pm in the playoffs.
South Africa 21 (Chris Dry, Cecil Afrika, Werner Kok tries; Franco du Preez 3 con)
New Zealand 19 (Regan Ware, Sione Molia, Sam Dickson tries; Vilimoni Koroi con, Beaudein Waaka con)
HT: 12-7 New Zealand