A fearless effort from the All Blacks Sevens has seen them knock out tournament favourites Fiji for a 22-17 win to advance to the Sevens World Cup final in San Francisco.
While you never discount any team in a game of sevens, few would have backed New Zealand to topple over the tournament favourites and Olympic champions, after the Fijians had piled on 78 points in their opening two games of the knockout tournament.
But, New Zealand turned up for the big game, and delivered a performance that far outweighed anything seen in their first two matches on days one and two.
Despite opening the scoring, the All Blacks Sevens found themselves down 12-10 at the halftime break, but came out with force in the second half, sealing the match with tries to Regan Ware and a second to tryscoring machine Joe Ravouvou.
Live updates of the final from 12.45pm
But it was the ability to shut down the dangerous Fijians on the park that was the difference in this match.
The Kiwis were forced to make 19 tackles – well over one per minute – many of which were crucial, try saving efforts, including several by tryscorer Dylan Collier.
Collier said he was proud of the performance.
"We knew it was going to be a tough effort to beat Fiji who have been one of the best through the world series this year, and we've been trying to be as consistent as them. It was just a great effort"
He said there is never room for error when shutting down an always-threatening Fijian attack.
"You just have to give your best effort everywhere, especially on defence when [Fiji] can get offloads away like nothing, and we just had to keep chasing, keep fighting and try pushing them out wide to avoid them scoring under the posts".
The All Blacks Sevens are now a win away from following the history made by the Black Ferns Sevens yesterday, becoming the first team to win back-to-back World Cup titles.
Standing their way is England, who caused a shock semi-final upset over World Series champions South Africa, outclassing the BlitzBokke 29-7 in spectacular fashion.
England finished the World Series on a high, with their best performance of the series coming in the final tournament in Paris when finishing as runners-up ironically to South Africa.
Collier said England are in great form.
"The last two tournaments they've probably been one of the best teams … coming into this they've shown really good form and they've got some big boys who play very physical"
"It's going to take a huge effort for us to win this final."
England's Phil Burgess said they are thrilled with their semi-final win.
"For us now it's about enjoying it for what it is, not getting ahead of ourselves because nothing's won at all.
"We're going to go back and rest and recover, do the right things and focus back on ourselves" said the team had no preference as they waited for the New Zealand and Fiji match to conclude.
"At the end of the day it's a normal pitch with posts and seven players, so when you get out there it's about how you do your own thing and focusing on the area you're going to be super good at, sometimes it's the breakdown or the aerial."
The final will kickoff at 12:53pm NZT.