The last play of the final gave New Zealand a 19-17 win over Australia to take the Dubai Sevens women’s rugby title.
Two tries from Emma Tonegato – the second a sensational move that involved virtually every Australian player on the pitch – and one from Amy Turner had given Australia a 17-point half-time lead.
But New Zealand captain Sarah Goss narrowed the advantage right at the start of the second half before Tyler Nathan-Wong put last year’s World Series winners within three points.
Skipper Goss crossed over after the siren to claim the unlikeliest of wins.
Australia coach Tim Walsh was delighted with his side’s effort, if not the result.
“There is nothing between us and New Zealand at the moment… though personally, I thought we were the best team in Dubai,” he said.
“However, you can never, ever write New Zealand off no matter what level of rugby it is and the Cup Final was a fantastic game.”
Australia’s Alicia Quirk was announced as the Dubai Sevens Player of the Tournament for a series of outstanding displays over the two days of competition.
“Alicia is the heart and soul of this team – she is all about the team and not the individual,” Walsh said of the 22-year-old from Wagga Wagga.
“She has an incredible work ethic who is always looking to improve her game and is one of the leaders of the team now – very opinionated and a very intelligent player. For me she was the deserved recipient of this award.”
Australia thrashed Fiji 47-0 in Friday’s quarter-finals before accounting for Canada 29-7 in the semis.
Canada finished third after beating France in golden- point extra time while England saw off the challenge of Fiji – once again in golden point – to pick up the Plate trophy and finish fifth.
The second round of the Women’s Sevens World Series is in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in February.
Australian Women’s Sevens results in Dubai
Australia 36-0 South Africa, Pool B
Australia 24-10 France, Pool B
Australia 39-0 Spain, Pool B
Australia 47-0 Fiji, Cup Quarter-Final
Australia 29-7 Canada, Cup Semi-Final
Australia 17-19 New Zealand, Cup Final