Despite Werner Kok scoring in the last seconds with England down to six men, a missed conversion from Justin Geduld ensured Simon Amor’s side won their first Cup since Tokyo 2015.
England captain Tom Mitchell said: “It was a tough tournament but I am so proud of the boys. We trained all summer and this makes it all worth it. We were a bit disappointed last weekend and we wanted to put it right. It was a pleasure to play in this stadium.”
In an enthralling final, Chris Dry showed incredible pace to beat Mitchell to the try line with the first try of the match before Richard de Carpentier hit back immediately to give England a 7-5 lead. Dan Norton added another to his weekend tally after an impressive pass from Dan Bibby to make the scores 12-5 at half-time, with South Africa losing Branco du Preez to injury.
Du Preez’s replacement, Rosko Specman, scored another wonder try early in second-half, chipping over the England defence and dotting down under the posts to draw the scores level. But, soon afterwards, HSBC player of the final Ruaridh McConochie stepped inside Philip Snyman to give England another lead.
Norton was then sent to the sin bin with less than a minute remaining for a nervy finish, allowing South Africa and Werner Kok to score in the corner but Geduld missed the conversion to give England the win.
England close the gap on series leaders South Africa, finishing the first two rounds on 39, two behind South Africa but ahead of Fiji (32), Scotland and New Zelaand (both 27).
McConnochie said: “There was not a big difference, it was a two point game. If the kick goes over it could be a different result, but the win helps massively. It shows the work we did off the pitch pays off and we are good enough to win a tournament.”
England ended Scotland’s involvement in the Cup competition for a second week running, beating the Auld Enemy 33-14 in the Cape Town Sevens semi-finals.
Charlie Hayter scored twice and Dan Norton continued his fine form to open up a 19-0 lead before Mark Robertson hit back for the Scots on the stroke of half-time. But replacements Oliver Lindsay-Hague and Ethan Waddleton secured a win for Simon Amor’s side to set up a final against the hosts.
Hosts South Africa beat the All Blacks Sevens 14-7 in a pulsating semi-final.
In a tight encounter, Sherwin Stowers opened the scoring after a prolonged period of possession for New Zealand, before Seabelo Senatla created space for Branco du Preez to dart under the posts to make it 7-7 at half-time.
In the second half Rosko Specman scored a brilliant try, running the entire length of the pitch to the delight of the home crowd.
South Africa possess the meanest defence so far in the series, conceding just 11 tries, and held out in the second seven minutes to book their place in a home final as they looked to defend their title.
South Africa beat Wales 33-0 in their quarter-final with Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Chris Dry, Ruhan Nel and Rosko Specman scoring for the hosts.
Tim Mikkelson, Sherwin Stowers and Scott Curry showed signs that New Zealand are getting back to their best after a disappointing campaign in Dubai. They all scored in their quarter-final against Kenya, with the captain grabbing two in their 28-7 victory.
In a thrilling third quarter-final, Scotland captain Scott Wight scored the winning try in sudden-death extra-time for a 24-19 win over the USA. Having agonisingly missed out last week in Dubai, this time they made the last four, after earlier tries from Scott Wight, Mark Robertson and James Fleming. USA captain Perry Baker, who impressed all weekend, scored two for the Americans.
In the fourth quarter-final, Olympic gold medallists Fiji were beaten by England after Dan Norton scored in sudden-death extra-time. Simon Amor’s side came from 19-0 behind to tie the scores at 26-26 after Ruaridh McConnochie’s effort, and it was England’s all-time leading try scorer who snatched the win.
South Africa 17-19 England
New Zealand 24-19 Scotland
South Africa 14-7 New Zealand
Scotland 14-33 England
South Africa 33-0 Wales
New Zealand 28-7 Kenya
Scotland 24-19 USA
Fiji 26-31 England
Kenya 21-33 Fiji
Wales 14-19 Kenya
USA 12-28 Fiji
Argentina 7-19 France
Australia 17-21 Argentina
Russia 12-17 France
Australia 42-12 Uganda
Argentina 33-12 Japan
Samoa 14-17 Russia
France 42-14 Canada
Uganda 10-19 Canada
Uganda 21-17 Japan
Samoa 24-26 Canada