Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby.
New Zealand’s win at the 2019 Cape Town Sevens came with a unique quirk. The All Blacks beat South Africa 5-7 in a feisty final.
It was only the second time since the South African leg of the World Series moved to Cape Town that the team that scored the most points across the weekend also won the series.
Captain Scott Curry praised his team for rising to a “massive challenge” as they avenged a defeat by the Blitzboks in the final of the series opener in Dubai last week.
“It doesn’t get much better than that – playing South Africa at (their) home in front of 50 000 fans roaring their national anthem,” he said after the match.
The tournament stretched over three days for the first time with the men and women’s series played concurrently.
Intriguingly, the men’s tournament set a new record low for total tries and total points across the weekend.
But scoring by the bucketload doesn’t always mean the rugby is better. The lower scoring could also be an indication that the gap is narrowing.
And that makes New Zealand’s feat at this year’s event all the more intriguing.
There have been five editions of the Cape Town Sevens since it first moved to the Mother City (including 2019). South Africa won the first edition, scoring just 123 points across the weekend (eights overall for most points). Fiji topped the points with 210.
The Flying Fijians were top of the scoring log the following year again with 176 points across all matches, but England won the tournament with 142 points in total (fourth-most).
New Zealand won the 2017 edition (159 points, second overall), but Australia – who didn’t even progress to the cup quarterfinals on that occasion, topped the points scoring with 177.
It was only during the 2018 edition where Fiji did the double – scoring the most points and winning the title – when they notched up 201 points over the weekend.
In 2019, the All Blacks won with 161 points. France was in the point-scoring stakes with 159, followed by Fiji on 158 and South Africa in fourth with 139.