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Victorious NZ sevens team surge clear

08:35 Mon Dec 10 2012
Kurt Baker
Kurt Baker (Getty)

Kurt Baker scored a hat-trick in the final against France as New Zealand romped to a record-breaking fourth successive South African rugby sevens title at Port Elizabeth.

New Zealand's 47-12 win saw them surge clear at the top of the International Rugby Board world series standings and hand long-serving coach Gordon Tietjens an ideal 57th birthday present on Monday (NZT).

Beaten finalists in the first two legs of the nine-tournament series, defending champions New Zealand improve to 60 points, followed by France (46 points), Fiji (44), South Africa (41) and Samoa (39).

New Zealand's fourth-straight triumph in South Africa hands them the longest streak by any team in one country's tournament since the world series was launched in 1999.

England had previously won three in a row at the Hong Kong sevens from 2002-04 and New Zealand secured a hat-trick from 2003-05 at Wellington.

The title defence looked shaky on Sunday when New Zealand lost 24-12 to Fiji in pool play.

They bounced back to hammer Wales 35-5 in the quarter-finals - also featuring a Baker hat-trick - before beating South Africa 12-5 in their semi-final.

The final was lop-sided, with a double to Baker and try to Ben Lam pushing New Zealand 21-7 clear of a French side who needed extra time to beat Argentina 10-7 in their semi-final.

Tietjens says his team set out to exploit any extra fatigue the French may have been feeling.

"We wanted to speed it up... you've always got a lot of respect for France because you never know what they are going to come out and do," he said.

"An awesome performance by my side but I also compliment France on the way they played."

Tietjens described Baker as a great sevens player who has bounced back from the disappointment of not winning a Super Rugby contract.

The next leg of the series is in Wellington on February 1-2.