New Zealand did the double as they won the men's and the women's titles at the Cape Town leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series on Sunday, reminding the rugby world of their depth and skill at all levels of the sport.
The New Zealand men's side beat the Blitzboks 7-5 in a tense final at a sold-out Cape Town Stadium in the climax of another brilliantly run and hosted tournament in the Mother City. Their women's team comfortably saw off Australia 17-7 to add to their Dubai title last week.
The All Blacks failed to defend the fifteens World Cup this year and the Junior All Blacks finished sixth at the World Championships in Argentina - their worst-ever return at that level.
Despite those setbacks New Zealand rugby continues to produce quality players and teams on a consistent basis. Based on the early stages of the current World Series, the Blitzboks' major rival in 2020 will be New Zealand.
The consolation for South African rugby after the Blitzboks lost a tense and often spiteful final, is that the men's fifteens and sevens teams end 2019 as the number one ranked in the world after an annus mirabilis for South...