South Africa outgunned first-time Dubai finalists Australia 33-7 to claim their first Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens title since 2008.
This is their third triumph in Dubai having previously won in 2006 and 2008.
They overcame the heartbreak of their 17-29 loss to Fiji in last year’s final, with the Aussies finding the lightning-quick Blitzbokke trio of Philip Snyman, Seabelo Senatla and Ruhan Nel too hot to handle.
“Intensity in defence made the difference for us, in the ultimate analysis – we’ve had issues with that in the past, but it was brilliant this time, especially against New Zealand. There was desperation, not just hunger, in our performance – that showed just how badly the guys wanted it," said South Africa captain Kyle Brown.
There was more joy for South Africa following their crowning glory – Werner Kok was named the player of the tournament for his outstanding overall performance across both days of competition in the men’s tournament.
Kok added: “The guys stuck to their gameplan and stuck through with their attitudes. We wanted it more, and the guys just gave it everything - we took it a game at a time and focused on doing our principles right. Our focus from here on in will be purely on maintaining our consistency.”
The runner-up finish here was a huge improvement for Australia from their 2013 performance, though, when they finished in ninth position as the Bowl champions. It was also the first time since 2002 that they had got past the semi-final stage.
Australia captain Cameron Clark said: “Nobody seemed to think that Fiji could be beaten, and we did that in the semi-finals, so that was fantastic. We weren’t quite there in the final, though, and South Africa are a very good side. Just our basic skills weren’t good enough – South Africa managed to capitalise on our errors and score tries. We are still a relatively young and inexperienced side, at least as far as Cup Finals go, so I guess it’ll be a learning curve.”
Earlier, in what was their first Cup semi-final tie against each other in 12 years, Australia and Fiji played out the match of the evening – one that was only decided in sudden-death extra time. Trailing 0-19 at one stage and 5-19 at the break, the Aussies came roaring back in the second period, and after it ended 24-24 at the end of regulation time, went through to their first Cup Final in Dubai thanks to Greg Jeloudev’s try from a coast-to-coast move.
“When Fiji went that far ahead, I was worried, but all the boys who came off the bench for us changed the game. And we talk about it all the time – it’s not just about the starting seven, but about the whole squad. We scored right at the end of the first half, and at half-time spoke about keeping possession – that’s always the key. We didn’t get much of it in the first half, but made the most of it when we did in the second,” said Australia coach Geraint John after that match.
Fiji Coach Ben Ryan said: “There was a lack of control in defence just before half-time. One bad pass, and we let them in for a try. They got a lifeline and made the most of it. We had two to three minutes of radio silence in defence, where we just didn’t talk. Our number one priority is to finish in the top four overall and qualify for the Olympics, but I know I’ve got a team good enough to win the title this season – and I know I keep saying this, but our biggest opponents are ourselves.”
Fiji, however, gained some consolation later, when they beat New Zealand, who have won 12 of the 15 overall titles so far and who had finished third in Dubai last year, 26-12 in the 3rd-4th place play-off.
Argentina won the Plate title at a packed Sevens Stadium, beating Scotland 26-12 in the Final, while Samoa beat France 31-21 to win the Bowl, and Canada claimed the Shield after overcoming Kenya 19-12.
Before that, though, the second Cup Semi-Final, which was a repeat of the Commonwealth Games final, saw South Africa, who were the runners-up in both the Dubai-leg and the overall series standings, thrashing defending series champions New Zealand 28-0 in what turned out to be a surprisingly one-sided affair.
Kwagga Smith’s hat-trick, which came in only six minutes, complemented a superb defensive effort from the Blitzbokke, who kept out a team that had scored 24 tries across the weekend.
In the Plate Final, surprise package Scotland, who had stunningly upset Samoa in the Pool stages on Friday, were up against 2013 Plate winners Argentina.
And it was the Scots who raced away to an early 12-0 lead before Secundo Tuculet turned the tie on its head with two tries in a minute from close range after missed tackles. Completely dominant in the second period, the Argentines charged through to a 26-12 win, defending their Plate title.
The Bowl Final pitted 2013 Shield champions France against Round 1 runners-up Samoa. France took the lead in that encounter as Samoa’s tournament looked to be ending in more misery. However, the Polynesians drew on the immense reserves of strength that had taken them all the way to the Gold Coast Final, overturning a 14-21 half-time deficit to seal a 31-21 win.
In the Shield Final, Canada, who had finished 11th here last year, were up against Kenya, who had finished seventh at The Sevens Stadium in 2013. Canada got off to a blistering start in that match, before hanging on to claim a well-deserved 19-12 win.
Fiji have retained their lead in the HSBC Sevens World Series standings with South Africa now in second. Australia has moved up to third with New Zealand in fourth.
Cup final: Australia 7 South Africa 33
Dubai finalists last year, South Africa completely outplayed Australia in the second half to win here for the third time.
Nel completes the rout in the final by cantering across. South Africa 33-7.
The Blitzbok are very much in control and dictating the pace of the game and Senatla virtually seals the title for South Africa with his second try with a classic corner flag try. South Africa 26-7.
South Africa are ahead with a two-goal cushion at the halfway stage in the second half and Australia concede another penalty.
The line out is won and Senatla kicks ahead and win the chase to the touch down for his sixth try in Dubai. South Africa 21-7.
South Africa regain the initiative as Australia concede a penalty from an attacking position.
Australia have poasession from a scrum and Clark makes a break but Miles rolls over the line but the try is not given.
South Africa win a turnover ball and Snyman scores his second try of the weekend in the opening minute after the restart. South Africa 14-7.
Australia force a line out deep inside South Africa territory and Pama Fau returns from the sin bin to score from a long pass by ClarK on the stroke of half time. Australia 7-7.
Kwagga Smith scores the first try in the final stepping inside with an angular run to touch down under the posts from the ensuing penalty. South Africa 7-0.
South Africa kick ahead and Pama Fau is sent to the sin bin for a spear tackle.
Australia win a lineout and Holland finds touch with a long kick.
Senatla is bundled into touch on the left after a sweeping move by South Africa.
There has been no score at the halfway point in the first half.
South Africa kick for territory and pin Australia in their half.
Australia set up an attacking opportunity by winning a line out in South Africa's 22 but there is a forward pass by Clark.
The Blitzbok are in control slinging the ball out wide before Afrika gives out a flat pass.
Pama Fou nearly makes an interception for Australia but knocks the ball forward.
Senatla makes the first run as South Africa retain possession from the kick-off.
This is the first final between Australia and South Africa in Dubai.
South Africa have won the Dubai twice previously in 2006 and 2008 while Australia are looking for a first.
Fiji won an intense physical battle against old rivals New Zealand to take third place in Dubai.
Third place playoff: Fiji 26 New Zealand 12
Curtis scores under the post after the siren goes but it is too late for New Zealand. New Zealand 12-26.
Ravouvou puts the icing on the cake for Fiji after Roko makes a break against the run of play. Fiji 26-6.
Fiji are on a roll with Kolinisau scoring after a chip and chase. Fiji 19-5.
Kunatani scores Fiji's second just before the interval after New Zealand lose the ball under pressure after a kick ahead. Fiji 12-5.
Katonibau kicks the ball after the ball roll loose from a scrum and the bounce is right for the Fijian. Fiji 7-5.
Kurt Baker scores after a fine switch by Mikkelson from a set piece. New Zealand 5-0.
New Zealand have a try disallowed with Curry failing to ground the ball properly under pressure.
New Zealand won 14-12 against Fiji when they last met in London.
The teams are out for the Cup final between Australia and South Africa.
Scotland dominated possession in the first half but Argentina fought back tenaciously just like they did against England to win the Plate final.
Plate final: Scotland 12 Argentina 26
Muller scores another on the stroke of full time as Argentina complete another comeback win to defeat Scotland in the Plate final.
It's advantage Argentina with just over a minute remaining with Scotland having to score twice.
Double trouble for Scotland as Tuculet scores again in quick succession muscling his way through. Argentina 21-12.
Tuculet goes over after latching onto an inside pass and Argentina take the lead with the conversion midway in the second half. Argentina 14-12.
Argentina hit back on the stroke of half time with Fernandez bursting through with their first attacking move. Argentina 7-12.
Wight gets another in quick succession displaying good footballing skills. Scotland 12-0.
Robertson puts Scotland ahead after a fine pass from Gregor in the fifth minute. Scotland 7-0.
Argentina have won all three encounters against Scotland in Dubai.
Samoa win the Bowl title after a closely fought final against France.
Bowl final: France 21 Samoa 31
Samoa seal victory with a try bt Selesel after a sweeping move. Samoa 31-21.
Samoa take the lead again after a fine overhead pass by Levasa. Samoa 26-21.
Levasa scores a second try after a break by Lolo whose conversion puts them level. Samoa 21-21.
France strike back on the stroke of half time with Bouhraoa bursting through. France 21-14.
Samoa draw level after Essai steps inside beautifully to score under the posts. Samoa 14-14.
Levasa scores despite almost knocking the ball over after a break by Lolo to close the gap. Samoa 7-14.
Saubade doubles the lead displaying soccer skills to kick and win the chase. France 14-0.
Candelon muscles his way over the line in the opening minute. France 7-0.
Samoa beat France 19-12 during their last meeting in Gold Coast.
Canada have won the Shield for the second sucessive tournament holding off Kenya with some solid defending.
Shield final: Canada 19 Kenya 12
Kenya fightback with a touch down by Mugaisi chasing a kick with just over a minute remaining. Kenya 12-19.
Douglas gets a double stumbling across the line shrugging off tackles. Canada 19-7.
Amonde scores for Kenya on the stroke of half time. Kenya 7-14.
Canada have doubled their lead. Canada 14-0.
Douglas goes round after an overlap to breach Kenya's defence. Canada 7-0.
Favourites Fiji and New Zealand bow out in Cup semifinals.
Cup semifinal: South Africa 28 New Zealand 0
Australia will face South Africa in the Cup final.
Cecil Afrika seals victory for South Africa after a breakaway by Colby. South Africa 28-0.
Time seems to be running out for New Zealand with South Africa wresting back possession.
New Zealand are beginning to find their attacking feet but are stalled by some heavy tackles.
New Zealand have been kept on a tight leash by the South African defence.
Hat-trick for Smith as the BlitzBokke stun New Zealand cantering across on the right. South Africa 21-0.
Smith doubles the lead going over again after a slick inside pass. South Africa 14-0.
South Africa are swarming all over New Zealand in the first three minutes.
Smith draws first blood for South Africa in the opening minute. South Africa 7-0.
Cup semifinal: Fiji 24 Australia 29 (AET)
Jeloudev scores the most important try of the tournament for Australia after being put clear by Clark to knock out Fiji with an extra-time try. Australia 29-24.
Australia hold the edge putting pressure on Fiji.
The team which scores first wins in extra time.
The match has gone into extra time after a fantastic fight back by Australia courtesy through spectacular tries by Malouf.
Malouf seems to have scored what could be the match saving try with less than a minute remaining after an interception with Clark converting. Australia 24-24.
Malouf comes off the bench to power his way over after Clark's assist with three minutes remaining. Australia 17-24.
Fiji hit back after Domolailai turns over ball at the breakdown. Fiji 24-12.
Holland wins the race after kicking the ball to put Australia back in the game. Australia 12-19.
Australia get on the scoresheet after Clark bursts through on the left on the stroke of half time. Australia 5-19.
Electrifying stuff by the defending champions in Dubai with Australia all at sea.
Kunatani gets on the scoresheet after being given the ball by Tuwai who unselfishly passes inside. Fiji 19-0.
Tuwai doubles the lead nipping through after a quickly taken penalty. Fiji 12-0.
Tuwai scores his fifth try of the weekend ducking through a couple of defenders to touch down under the posts. Fiji 7-0.
Argentina will meet Scotland in the Plate final after a magnificent comeback against England in the second half.
Plate semifinal: Argentina 21 England 19
Argentina have defeated England with two late tries.
It's advantage Argentina as England's Mitchell gets a yellow card.
Revol goes around the English defence to score near the posts with a converted try. Argentina 21-19.
Argentina bounce back with a try by Alvarez. Argnetina 14-19.
Burgess bursts through after a quickly taken penalty to score on the right soon after the restart. England 19-7.
Bowen scores his second try after Norton made the break through the middle with his dancing feet. England 12-7.
Argentina have struck back through Merello with a lovely step. Argentina 7-5.
Argentina tighten up their defence but Bowen is a constant threat on either flank for England.
Bowen draws first blood making the initial break on the left before scoring a corner flag try in the opening minute. England 5-0.
Argentina and England are meeting in the Plate semifinals in Dubai after 12 years.
Argentina won 21-19 at Gold Coast during the last meeting.
Plate semifinal: Wales 7 Scotland 31
Scotland finish off in style with Shaw scoring off an overlap on the right. Scotland 31-7.
Mark Robertson scores his fourth try in Dubai after bursting through the middle. Scotland 26-7.
Gregor gets his second after a phased out move by Scotland to touch down in the right corner. Scotland 19-7.
Thomas Williams bamboozled the Scottish after a bout of passing to put Red Dragons on the scoresheet. Wales 7-14.
Scotland double their lead as Riddell picks up the ball against the run of play just before the interval. Scotland 14-0.
Wales regain their feet after Scotland are penalised at the breakdown.
Wales concede an early penalty despite a brilliant kick-off and Scotland drive home the advantage with Colin Gregor latching onto an inside pass from Johnson. Scotland 7-0.
Bowl semifinal: Portugal 14 Samoa 19
Samoa survive a set piece near their line and a line out as the siren goes to progress to the Bowl final where they will face France.
Lolo Lui gets a yellow and Samoa are down to six men in the final minute of play.
Portugal are awarded a penalty try after a high tackle prevented them from scoring. Portugal 14-19.
Guedes pull one back putting the finishing touches to a move which he began deep inside his half. Portugal 7-19.
Mealoi scores another for Samoa after the siren goes for the break. Samoa 19-0.
Asofalou scores his second with a break on the left beginning with a lovely step deep inside his half before selling a dummy. Samoa 12-0.
Asofalou goes for the right corner as Samoa draw first blood. Samoa 5-0.
Bowl semifinal: France 24 USA 15
Unufe scores a breakaway try after the siren. USA 15-24.
Its all going France way as Saubade gets a double on the left corner. France 24-10.
France hit back immediately through a fine try by Saubade. France 19-10.
Carlin Isles gets on the scoresheet racing away after a lovely step. USA 10-14.
Durutalo scores on the left corner after the siren goes for half time. USA 5-14.
There is not stopping Bouhraoa gets on the inside again the hit the gap to score a double. France 14-0.
Bouhraoa slips through to score under the posts after a fine inside pass. France 7-0.
Kenya will meet Canada in the Shield final.
Shield semifinal: Brazil 7 Kenya 22
Amonde displays good steps to score on the stroke of full time. Kenya 22-7.
Mugaisi scores a spectacular breakaway try, his first in Dubai. Kenya 15-0.
Ayodi restores Kenya's lead by bursting through on the stroke of half time. Kenya 10-7.
Harvey scores a superb try to keep Brazil the lead but limps off the field with an ankle sprain. Brazil 7-5.
Opondo steps on the gas to score his first try in Dubai. Kenya 5-0.
Shield semifinal: Canada 29 Japan 14
Douglas gets a double against the run of play. Canada 29-14.
Canada pounced on a mistake by Japan with Douglas powering through to stretch their lead. Canada 22-14.
Japan skipper Sakai scores their second in quick after chasing down his own kick. Japan 14-17.
Japan get back into contention with a try by Hano. Japan 7-17.
Duke scores a breakway on the stroke of half time. Canada 17-0.
Canada Duke runs wide outside on the right to score Canada's second in the corner. Canada 12-0.
Fuelifau draws first blood for Canada after Japan were stalled earlier. Canada 7-0.
UAE National Schoolboy Final: Al Ain Mixed 15 Al Maarif Dubai 19
Ali Hassan scored a spectacular breakaway try to give Al Maarif Dubai a magnificent come from behind 19-15 victory over Al Ain Mixed School to win the UAE National Schoolboy Final.
Al Maarif School, Dubai and Al Ain Mixed School are locking horns in the final of the UAE National Schoolboy Championships.
Cup quarter-final: New Zealand 29 England 7
New Zealand have scored a comfortable win over England to book their berth in the semifinals where they will face South Africa.
Mikkelson hits the gap and is unstoppable to virtual seal victory for the men in black. New Zealand 29-7.
England attempt to counter with three minutes remaining but are held up by the New Zealanders.
Webber gets a double with a side step after New Zealand recycle ball at the breakdown. New Zealand 22-7.
Joe Webber bursts through from a lineout to score on the stroke of half time. New Zealand 17-7.
Curtis scores a double, his sixth in Dubai, on the left corner after England concede a penalty under pressure. New Zealand 10-7.
This is the first try New Zealand have conceded during the weekend.
England hit back with a try by Lewis-Pratt who steps his way through after picking up a loose ball. England 7-5.
New Zealand draw first blood as Curtis gets a wide pass to go across on the right. New Zealand 5-0.
Cup quarter-final: South Africa 40 Argentina 0
Senatla intercepts a long pass of the final play of the game to score a hat-trick. South Africa 40-0.
Gelant scores his first try of the tournament in the final minute of the game. South Africa 33-0.
Afrika finishes a move which he began with a grubber kick. South Africa 26-0.
Argentina are fighting back with some slick passing but have a try disallowed after a forward pass.
Smith darts over after South Africa win turn over ball. South Africa 21-0.
Senalta gets his second after the ball is spread wide before stepping inside and scoring under the posts. South Africa 14-0.
Senalta opens South Africa's account by going over on the right. South Africa 7-0.
Cup quarter-final: Australia 22 Scotland 17
Australia are through to the semifinals in Dubai for the first time since 2002 holding off a spirited fightback by Scotland.
Godsmark scores off an overlap as Scotland close the gap after Australia are penalised. Scotland 17-22.
Scotland pounce on a mistake following a set piece as the bounce is right for Wight. Scotland 12-22.
Myers gets on the scoresheet after Fou runs inside from the right. Australia 22-5.
Cameron Clarke gets his fourth try of the tournament after selling a dummy almost with the restart. Australia 17-5.
Pama Fou steps on the outside to give Australia a crucial on the stroke of half time. Australia 10-5.
Jenkins scores in the left off an overlap as Australia draw level. Australia 5-5.
Scotland make a terrific start with Robertson flying from his own 22 to score in the left corner shrugging off several tackles. Scotland 5-0.
Australia have been unbeaten this weekend by Scotland were thrashed by New Zealand.
Cup quarter-final: Fiji 31 Wales 17
Davies scores a spectacular try running over 70 metres from a set piece. Wales 17-31.
Harries scores the second try for Wales after receiving a wide pass in the left corner. Wales 10-31.
Wales hit back as Morgan bursts through on the left flank after collecting an overhead pass. Wales 5-31.
Wales concede a series of penalties and Waqatabu goes over in the left corner with the opposition reduced to six men. Fiji 31-0.
Rawaca powers his way through with ball in one hand with the restart. Fiji 24-0.
Fiji are running away with this game with scrum half Tuwai getting his second dancing inside desperate tackles to score under the posts. Fiji 19-0.
Kunatani scores the second try for Fiji in the left corner after a quickly taken penalty and some sleight of hand passing. Fiji 12-0.
Tuwai breaks from inside his 22 as Fiji score almost from the kick-off. Fiji 5-0.
Fiji lead 28-19 in the series against Wales whom they beat 28-10 at Gold Coast.
Bowl quarter-final: Samoa 40 Kenya 5
Mealoi completes a brace for Samoa to complete the rout. Samoa 40-5.
Mealoi gets on the scoresheet for Samoa after some powerplay. Samoa 33-5.
Asofalou scores his second try after a fine switch pass to score under the posts. Samoa 26-5.
Asofalou bursts through on the left flank after the ball was spread wide by Samoa to dive over in the corner. Samoa 19-5.
Kenya hit back after the hooter goes for the break with Ayodi stepping past a couple of defenders after Samoa frittered away possession. Kenya 5-14.
Iosefa scores try number two for Samoa with a burst of speed. Samoa 14-0.
Veteran Lolo Lui breaks through to score Samoa's first try which he converts. Samoa 7-0.
Bowl quarter-final: Portugal 19 Brazil 0
Brazil are down to five men in the last two minutes after a yellow car and Guedes scores in the corner after Portugal work a penalty. Portugal 19-0.
Esteves strides through a gap to score Portugal's second try under the posts. Portugal 14-0.
Brazil are down the six men after Fiori sent off for a dangerous tackle during Portugal try-scoring effort.
Leal cuts back inside for Portugal's first try with 30 seconds left in the half. Portugal 7-0.
Portugal spreading the ball around but come up against some gritty defending from the Brazilians.
Bowl quarter-final USA 14 Japan 12
Japan made a last ditch effort with a sweeping move but Soejima's dropped pass put paid to their chances.
Noah barges over to score under the posts and United States take the lead for the first time 14-12 with just over a minute remaining.
United States are back in the game as Unife scores after some intense pressure with four minutes remaining. USA 7-12.
Soejima scores off an overlap to give Japan a crucial lead of 12-0 at the break taking advantage of the powerplay after Barrett was sent to the sin bin.
Japan breach the United States defence from a set piece with Sakai going over the line in the fourth minute. Japan 7-0.
Bowl quarter-final: France 42 Canada 19
Candelon gets a hat-trick as France notch an iimpressive 42-19 win.
Trainor gets a third for Canada but it has come too late for them. Canada 19-35.
Hammond is awarded a try after a chip and chase following a video review. Canada 12-35.
Cejvanovic gets a consolation try for Canada with a powerful break. Canada 7-35.
Saubade gets on the scoresheet after France work the ball from deep inside their territory before taking a quick penalty. France 35-0.
Rakatawa powers through the middle for his second try. France 28-0.
France lead Canada at the break 21-0.
Candelon gets a double after France win a turnover ball showing good turn of feet and score under the posts. France 21-0.
Fijian-born Vakatawa hits the gap for France's second try. France lead 14-0.
Candelon scores the first try of the day in the right corner giving France a 7-0 lead.
France and Canada will open proceedings on the final day of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens in the first of the Bowl quarter-finals.
Samoa's Afa Aiono was cited for an act of foul play and will be suspended for 3 games which means the remainder of the tournament.
Gold Coast finalists Samoa were consigned to the Bowl after suffering a shock defeat against Scotland 21-14 and being thrashed 41-0 by New Zealand before winning 38-12 against Japan in pool B matches.
Defending men’s Dubai-leg champions Fiji and HSBC Sevens World Series holders New Zealand are on course for a dream showdown in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens at The Sevens on Saturday.
Gold Coast winners romped to victory over France 54-7, Brazil 31-5 and Argentina 33-21 to top pool A.
Five-time Dubai winners New Zealand breezed past Japan 36-0, Scotland 43-0 and Japan 29-0 in pool B matches.
Asked about a potentially mouth-watering final against Fiji on Saturday, New Zealand coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said at the end of the preliminary stage: “We’re not worrying about Fiji at the moment, but if it does come down to facing them, we’ll have to set up some special tactics for them. They’re the form team at the moment, no doubt about that. But our main aim is to stay alive in the Cup championship and then try and win the title here. I think it is the most entertaining tournament in recent times."
11.00am Fiji vs Wales
11.22am Australia vs Scotland
11.44am South Africa vs Argentina
12.06pm New Zealand vs England
9.30am: France vs Canada
9.52am: USA vs Japan
10.14am: Portugal vs Brazil
10.36am: Samoa vs Kenya